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B.A., Ph.D., D.D. 

American Mission, Egypt 

Member of Administrative Faculty 

School of Oriental Studies 









L. C. CATALOG CARD NO! 68^2506 I 


THIS book is the first part of a dissertation which was 
submitted, in August 1928, to the Graduate Faculty of 
the University of Chicago (U.S.A.), Department of Old Testa- 
ment, in candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. 
Its publication has been made possible by the decision of the 
Faculty of the School of Oriental Studies of the American 
University, Cairo, Egypt, with which the author of this work 
has for some years been associated, to include the work as 
a monograph in its series of Oriental Studies. 

The second part of the dissertation, which is not being 
published at the present time, for various reasons, consists 
of a translation into English of a work on the Islamic Cali- 
phate by r Ali 'Abd al-Razik, one of the younger and more 
liberal school of Egyptian writers of to-day. This work, pub- 
lished in 1925 under the title Al-Islam wa usul al-hukm 
('Islam and the Fundamentals of Authority'; sub -title: A 
Study of the Caliphate and Government in Islam), aroused 
a furor of opposition in Egypt at the time of its publication 
by reason of its liberal views. What is the origin of these 
revolutionary views ? In particular, do they bear any relation, 
as might naturally be conjectured, to the modern reform 
movement in Egypt, inaugurated by Muhammad 'Abduh, 
the late Grand Mufti of Egypt, who died in 1905 ? Or do they 
connect, rather, with the works of European scholars ? The 
consideration of these and similar questions which naturally 
arise in connexion with a work like that of 'AH f Abd al-Razik, 
led to the preparation of an introductory study to accompany 
the translation, in which an error t is made to set forth the 
origin and development of the modern reform movement, to 
estimate the extent of its influence, and to discover whether 
any relation exists between the ideas of Muhammad 'Abduh 
and those of the author whose work was translated and other 
writers who, like him, belong to the modern Egyptian School. 
The form and contents of the introductory study are suffi- 
ciently general, however, and of such general connexion with 

vi Preface 

the translation, that it can be published separately in the 

form in which it now appears. 

This study is offered by the author to the public with much 
diffidence ; in the hope that scholars familiar with the field 
covered may find something of value in it, even though such 
European scholars as Goldziher, Horten, Hartmann and 
others, and such Egyptian scholars as Professor Mustafa 
( Abd al-Razik, in collaboration with M. Bernard Michel, have 
preceded with studies in European languages concerning the 
work of Muhammad 'Abduh. It is not claimed for this work 
that it presents anything new, not heretofore discovered, with 
reference to the life and teachings of Muhammad ' Abduh ; 
although it may be said, with some show of justice, that it 
sets these forth with greater fullness than has been done here- 
tofore, and, in particular, that it gives some account of the 
later developments of the movement. In any case, there would 
seem to be room for a work in English on this subject. The 
author cherishes the hope, also, that a somewhat wider public 
of those who wish to follow the developments that are taking 
place in modern Islam and in the thought life of Islamic 
countries may find the work not without interest. 

The work is published practically as presented in disser- 
tation form; such changes only have been made as were 
necessary to take account of publications relating to the 
subject that have appeared since the work was written. 
Particular mention should be made of the admirable series of 
Studies in Contemporary Arabic Literature, by Professor 
H. A. R. Gibb, reprinted from the Bulletin of the School of 
Oriental Studies, London; and the valuable biographical 
sketches in Leaders in Contemporary Arabic Literature, by 
Tahir Khemiri and Professor Dr. G. Kampifmeyer, reprinted 
1930, from Die Welt des I slams. The present writer has been 
gratified to find his own views confirmed at a number of 
points by these studies, and, in other instances, has received 
help from them which he gladly acknowledges. The recent 
publication of greatest concern, however, to a work dealing 
with Muhammad ( Abduh, is volume i of the Tdrlkh or 
'Biography of Muhammad 'Abduh', by Muhammad Rashid 
Rida, which appeared in the latter months of 1931. This long- 

Preface vii 

awaited volume by the chief disciple of 'Abduh, who has 
carried on his tradition, must remain the principal source of 
information regarding the life and work of the great Egyptian 
reformer. The second volume, containing 'Abduh's principal 
contributed articles and briefer works, and the third, contain- 
ing biographical and eulogistic accounts which appeared at 
the time of his death, were already available. But, until the 
appearance of the recent volume, the only biography of con- 
siderable length concerning him was that from the pen of 
Muhammad Rashid Rida which was printed in vol. viii (1905) 
of Al-Manar, the monthly journal of the 'Abduh party. The 
volume which has just now appeared contains a wealth of 
incident and detail concerning events and persons; throws 
most interesting and valuable sidelights on modern Egyptian 
history ; reveals inner details of the various intrigues, political 
or otherwise, in which 'Abduh was involved, sometimes as 
author but more frequently as victim — which is the principal 
reason why publication of the biography in its present form 
has been possible only in recent years ; and, in short, would 
be considered, with its more than one thousand pages, as the 
last and fullest source -book for a biography of Muhammad 
'Abduh, were not the publication of a supplementary 
volume promised, containing additional documentary ma- 
terial. But a comparison of the recent volume with the earlier 
and briefer biography reveals that the main outlines of the 
'Life', even down to the more important details, remain the 
same ; so that little rewriting of the present study has been 
necessitated by the appearance of the larger biography. Page 
references to the new volume have been added in the foot- 
notes for the most important facts and statements ; but in 
many instances references to the earlier biography have been 
considered sufficient. 

The footnotes, citing supporting authorities or making 
explanatory comments, have been retained for the sake of 
those who may wish to verify statements or views expressed. 
The general reader who is not concerned about authorities 
and to whom a system of footnotes is distracting, will find 
that these footnotes can, for the most part, be safely dis- 

viii Preface 

With reference to the ever-troublesome question of the 
transliteration of Arabic words, it has seemed best to make 
use of all the diacritical marks necessary to indicate the 
Arabic characters, and the length-marks above words to 
indicate the long vowels, even in words such as Muhammad, 
Islam, Kur'an, &c, that may be regarded as having attained 
a common, anglicized form ; omitting, however, any mark 
to indicate that the two English letters kh, gh, &c, in such 
words as khalifah, al-Ghazzali, &c, represent one Arabic 
letter, in order to avoid multiplying signs where the value of 
the letters will be sufficiently evident to those who are familiar 
with Arabic. In fact, all the diacritical marks will have 
meaning only for those who know the Arabic characters ; and 
to them the system of transliteration used will be apparent 
without further explanation. For those who do not know 
the Arabic characters, the diacritical marks will add nothing ; 
and it is hoped, on the other hand, that they will not unduly 
inconvenience the reader. 

The author makes respectful and grateful acknowledge- 
ment of the debt which he owes to his honoured teacher, 
Martin Sprengling, Ph.D., Professor of Semitic Languages 
and Literatures at the University of Chicago, under whose 
tuition and direction this work was prepared. His wide 
acquaintance with the field of Arabic and Islamics, his under- 
standing of the critical questions which arise in connexion 
with such a study, his sympathetic guidance and painstaking 
assistance over a long period of study, made him an admirable 
counsellor and gave weight to his suggestions and advice. 
The writer therefore gladly acknowledges his great indebted- 
ness to him, at the same time insisting that any defects 
which, it is feared, will be only too evident in this work, will 
be due only to the student and not to the teacher. To his 
colleagues in the School of Oriental Studies, the Rev. E. E. 
Elder, Ph.D., D.D., and the Rev. A. Jeffery, M.A., Ph.D., the 
author also expresses his hearty thanks for timely assistance 
in numerous ways during the preparation of this work and for 
encouragement and advice in connexion with its publication. 

caiko, C. C. ADAMS. 

April, 1932. 





1849-77: preparation 18-43 


1877-88: beginnings of public life. . . 44-67 


1888-1905: culmination of career. . . 68-103 


principles and tendencies .... 104-126 


attitude regarding reason and science . 127-143 


exposition of doctrines .... 144-176 


IX. THE 'MANAR' PARTY ..... 205-247 



INDEX 275 



MUHAMMAD AN modernism in Egypt may be said to 
have taken form as a definite movement during the last 
quarter of the preceding century, under the leadership of the 
late Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shaikh Muhammad 'Abduh, who 
died in 1905. It constitutes an attempt to free the religion of 
Islam from the shackles of a too rigid orthodoxy, and to 
accomplish reforms which will render it adaptable to the 
complex demands of modern life. Its prevailing character is 
that of religious reform ; it is inspired and dominated chiefly 
by theological considerations. It differs in this respect from 
the reforms instituted by the Indian group of rationalist 
reformers, who aim primarily at a cultural movement, and 
the adjustment of Islam to the conditions of modern Euro- 
pean civilization. 1 The fundamental assumption, however, 
that Islam is a world religion, suitable for all peoples, all 
times, and all cultural conditions, is common to both move- 
ments. 2 

The initial impulse to the reform movement in Egypt 
originated, not within Egypt itself, but from the teaching and 
influence of that noted exponent of Pan-Islamism and advo- 
cate of a thorough-going reform in Islam, the Sayyid Jamal 
al-Dln al-Afgham, who spent the years 1871 to 1879 in Egypt. 
Muhammad 'Abduh was one of the many young Egyptian 
students who were profoundly influenced by the ideas of the 
magnetic Afghan savant; but it was Muhammad 'Abduh, 
who, more than any of the others, was to prove his spiritual 
and intellectual kinship to the great teacher. By his active 
participation in the political, social, and religious life of his 
country, by his writings, and most of all by his energetic 
practical reforms, he perpetuated the spirit and ideals of his 
master. He thus became the prophet of a new day for Egypt 
and for Islam. Not unjustly has he been called by a recent 

1 Cf . Goldziher, Die Richtungen der islamischen Koranauslegung, p. 320. 
In the chapter entitled 'Der islamische Modernismus und seine Koranaus- 
legung', pp. 310-70, he discusses and compares the Indian and Egyptian 
schools of reform, and then at greater length deals with the movement in 
Egypt. For abbreviations of works referred to in coming pages, see 
Appendix on Bibliography. 2 Ibid., p. 321. 

2 Introduction 

biographer 'one of the creators of modern Egypt', and with 
no less justice 'one of the founders of modern Islam' } since 
his efforts to reconcile the fundamental ideas of Islam with 
the scientific ideas of the West have significance for Islam 
the world over. 

The reform impulse thus developed in Egypt by Muham- 
mad 'Abduh has persisted until the present and has made 
itself felt in many directions. A considerable number of 
sympathetic spirits had associated themselves with him in 
his reform activities and continued to advocate his principles 
after his death. It does not appear that his avowed following 
was ever so numerous, or so assimilated and organized, as to 
constitute a school or party of reform in the strict sense of the 
word. Yet his ideas have received a wide and sympathetic 
hearing among the educated people of Egypt and other 
Muslim countries. They have been potent in many circles and 
have exerted a moulding influence, even where no allegiance 
to him has been admitted. His views have been germinative 
and his spirit contagious. During the past quarter of a cen- 
tury or more, a genuine awakening has been in process in 
Egypt, an awakening which has expressed itself in an intel- 
lectual and literary renaissance, in movements towards social 
reform and in political developments which have given evi- 
dence of a growing spirit of nationalism. This awakening, it 
is true, has not all been of Muhammad 'Abduh's making; 
other influences than his have contributed to it. But it 
cannot be fully explained nor understood apart from him ; 
and his share in it, alike in its origin and in the direction of 
its development, must be acknowledged to be great. The 
hopes of a general reform of the religion of Islam have not 
been realized to the extent which he desired and anticipated ; 
yet, at the same time, the reform impulses and liberalizing 
tendencies which he set in motion have operated in directions 
which he also visualized, and are accomplishing mu6h that 
may fairly be considered as part of his objective. There is 
much reason, therefore, for examining the position of men of 
advanced views and sympathies in Egypt to-day, to discover 

1 B. Michel et le Cheikh Moustapha 'Abdel Razik: Cheikh Mohammed 
'Abdou: Rissalat al Tawhid, Paris, 1925, Introd., p. xlii. 

Introduction 3 

what relation their views may bear to those which he advo- 

The course of discussion in the present study follows the 
lines suggested by the foregoing considerations. The real 
character and purpose of the movement inaugurated by 
Muhammad r Abduh cannot be fully and correctly understood 
apart from his personality and his activities ; for his activities 
are the best commentary on his views. But these, in turn, 
can only be explained by a knowledge of the man who inspired 
them, the Sayyid Jamal al-Din. A brief account of the lives 
of these two men, master and pupil, has therefore been given, 
followed by a summary of the more important ideas of the 
latter as constituting the fundamental principles of Egyptian 
modernism. It has then seemed in place to pass in review the 
work of the principal associates and successors of Muhammad 
'Abduh, and thereafter, that of certain other advanced 
Egyptian thinkers who may possibly owe the inception of 
their views to him, in order to attempt to evaluate their 
contribution to modern Islamic thought. Of these latter 
writers, the work of 'All ( Abd al-Razik on the Muslim Cali- 
phate, published in 1925 under the title Al-Isldm wa Usui al- 
Huhm ('Islam and the Fundamentals of Authority 3 ) has been 
given somewhat particular attention, with a view to noting 
the significance of the author's principal contentions. The 
works of other Egyptian writers and thinkers of to-day 
deserve to be considered, were it the intention to review the 
whole field of modern Arabic literary activity ; but it is mani- 
festly not possible, within the limits of a work like the present, 
to give such an extensive review, nor to include all that might 
reasonably be considered under the head of modernism in 
Egypt. It has, therefore, been thought sufficient, for the 
purpose in hand, to present what may be regarded as typical 
of a much wider field, and thus indicate, in summary form, 
the trend of Islamic thought in Egypt to-day. 



THE Sayyid Jamal al-Din,the chief agent in the inception 
of the modern movement in Egypt, was born in the year 
1839 at As'ad-Abad, near Kabul in Afghanistan. 1 His father 
was Al-Sayyid Safdar, 2 who, though himself poor and illiter- 
ate, claimed descent from the noted scholar and traditionalist 
of Islam, Al-Sayyid 'All Al-Tirmidhi, 3 and traced his family 
connexion back to Al-Husain (ibn f Ali ibn Abi Talib), the 
grandson of Muhammad the Prophet. From his fifth to his 
tenth year, Jamal studied in the local school. From his tenth 
year onward he pursued his studies in different parts of Persia 
and Afghanistan. By the time he was eighteen he had studied 
practically the whole range of Muslim sciences and acquired 
a remarkable familiarity with all : Arabic grammar, philology 
and rhetoric in all branches, Muslim history, Muslim theology 
in all its branches, Sufism, logic, philosophy, physics, meta- 
physics, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, anatomy, and 
various other subjects. When eighteen years of age he went 
to India, where he stayed for about a year and a half, adding 

1 This is according to his own account. According to the Persian account, 
he was born in a village of the same name near Hamadan in Persia. Why 
he should have chosen to represent himself as an Afghan, if he were really 
born in Persia, can only be a matter of conjecture, since information con- 
cerning his early life is scanty, being confined chiefly to that which he him- 
self has furnished. Fortunately there is sufficient material for knowledge of 
his later life, beginning with the time of his sojourn in Egypt. Prof. E. G. 
Browne, his chief biographer, conjectures (Persian Revolution, pp. 3, 4) that 
he wished to be known as an Afghan, rather than a Persian, partly that he 
might the more readily pass as an orthodox SunnI Muslim, and partly that 
he might withdraw himself from the dubious 'protection' of the Persian 
Government, which he regarded as a poor guarantee of safety. Whatever 
the truth in regard to his birth-place, he became known as 'al- Afghani ', that 
is to say, 'the Afghan'. W. S. Blunt in his Diary,, date of September 14, 
1883 (quoted Pers. Rev., p. 402, note), states that Jamal's family is Arabian 
and ' they have always preserved in it the tradition of the Arabic language 
which he speaks with great perfection'. Somewhat against this, is the 
statement of Muhammad Rashid Rida, (Al-Mandr, viii (1905), 389) that 
Jamal, with all his eloquence, never entirely got rid of traces of his Persian 
extraction in his use of Arabic. 

2 Or Saftar, as given in the Arabic accounts. Cf. Tdnkh, i. 27. 

3 Died a.h. 279, a.d. 892. 

Al-Sayyid Jamal al-Din al- Afghani 5 

to his store of learning some acquaintance with the European 
sciences and their methods, together with some knowledge of 
English. He already knew Afghan, Persian, Turkish, and 
Arabic. He concluded his stay in India by making a leisurely 
pilgrimage to Mecca, arriving there in 1857. 

After completing the pilgrimage, Jamal returned to 
Afghanistan, and entered the service of the ruling Amir, 
Dust Muhammad Khan, whom he accompanied in the siege 
and capture of Harat, which was occupied by the Amir's 
cousin and son-in-law, Sultan Ahmad Shah. In 1864 Muham- 
mad Khan died and was succeeded by Shir 'All. In the civil 
war between him and his three brothers which followed his 
accession, Jamal attached himself to Muhammad A'zam, one 
of the three brothers, who after varying fortunes in the 
prolonged civil war eventually became Amir and advanced 
Jamal to the position of Prime Minister. Jamal at that time 
was twenty-seven years of age. The civil war was soon re- 
newed and the rival Amir, Shir 'All, supported by the English 
and English money, finally succeeded in vanquishing his 
brother Muhammad A'zam and causing him to flee the 
country. A short time thereafter Muhammad A'zam died. 

The new Amir did not take action openly against Jamal 
al-Din because of the combined circumstance of the latter's 
being a Sayyid and having influence with the people, but 
secretly he sought to harm him. Jamal accordingly, deeming 
it wise to leave the country, asked and secured permission to 
make another pilgrimage to Mecca, and left Afghanistan in 
the year 1869. Proceeding by way of India, he was received 
with honour by the Indian Government but was not per- 
mitted to engage in any political activity nor to hold con- 
ferences with the Muslim leaders. After a month, therefore, 
he proceeded on his way, being conveyed in one of the Govern- 
ment's ships to Suez. From there he went to Cairo for a brief 
visit of forty days' duration. During this time he frequented 
the Azhar University, holding converse with many teachers 
and students, and delivered lectures in his lodgings to those 
who came to him. 

Meantime, he had changed his intention of continuing to 
Mecca on pilgrimage and went instead to Constantinople, 

6 Al-Sayyid Jamal al-Din al- Afghani 

where lie was received with unusual honours by the Sultan 
'Abd al-Hamid and the leading officials and scholars. As was 
his wont, he at once entered zealously into the life of the 
circles into which he had been received, losing no opportunity 
to make known his views, and soon had acquired great influ- 
ence. But in so doing he aroused the distrust and jealousy 
of the Shaikh al-Islam. Towards the close of the following 
year, 1870, he was invited by the Director of the Dar al- 
Funun, or the Turkish University, to address the students on 
the importance of the crafts and trades. 1 Although Jamal 
had taken the precaution of having his lecture approved 
beforehand by a number of high officials, the Shaikh al-Islam 
seized upon some of the expressions which he used and 
accused him of employing terms derogatory to the dignity 
of Islam. The public Press took up the matter, Jamal replied, 
and such a furor was created that, for the sake of peace, the 
Turkish Government ordered Jamal to leave the country. He 
accordingly returned to Egypt, arriving in Cairo, March 22, 1 87 1 . 
It was his intention to stay but a short time in Egypt. But 
through the influence of Riad Pasha, then Prime Minister, 
the Egyptian Government conferred upon him a monthly 
allowance of ten Egyptian pounds as a mark of respect and 
recognition. 2 He therefore decided to settle in Egypt for the 
present. When the news of his arrival became known, he was 
besieged in his lodgings by eager students to whom he ex- 
pounded some of the most advanced text-books on theology, 
philosophy, jurisprudence, astronomy, and mysticism. With 

1 Cf. J. Zaidan, Mashahir al-shark ('Eastern Celebrities'), ii. 55. Also 
Browne, Pers. Rev., p. 6, for summary of address. He compared the body 
politic to a living organism of which the limbs were the different crafts and 
professions. The soul of this body is either the prophetic or philosophic 
faculty. Seizing upon these words, the Shaikh al-Islam accused Jamal of 
calling the prophetic office an art or craft and the prophet a craftsman, an 
idea which, he charged, detracted from the unique dignity of the prophet as 
the divinely inspired messenger of God. The real animus which inspired the 
charges, however liberal the views of Jamal may have seemed to the con- 
servative shaikhs, was doubtless jealousy of Jamal's influence. Zaidan (op. 
cit.) says that proposals made by Jamal concerning methods for making 
education more general gained the ill will of the Shaikh al-Islam, since they 
touched upon his income. 

2 Mashahir, ii. 56 : ' not for any specific services but to do honour to an 
illustrious visitor'. 

Al-Sayyid Jamdl al-Din al- Afghani 7 

a view to raising up a generation of young writers who could 
ably set forth in print the new ideas which he was imparting, he 
trained the more promising of his pupils in the art of writing 
for the Press. He also took an active interest in Egyptian 
political affairs. He did all he could to arouse the country to 
the dangers of foreign intervention and control, and his writing 
for the press did not conceal his anti-English sympathies. 

These activities continued for the space of about eight 
years. It was inevitable that he should arouse opposition. 
The conservative theologians distrusted his advanced views 
of learning, particularly his revival of the study of philo- 
sophy, which in conservative circles has always been regarded 
as the enemy of true religion. 1 His political activities aroused 
the suspicions of the Government, and, especially, of the 
British officials in Egypt. During the years of Jamal's sojourn 
in Egypt the financial affairs of the country had been rapidly 
sinking into that condition of hopeless bankruptcy which led 
to European intervention, and, finally, to the deposition of 
Isma/il Pasha, the Khedive, whose ill-considered and extrava- 
gant efforts to Europeanize the country had ended so 
disastrously. He was succeeded on June 25, 1879, by Tawfik 
Pasha, son of Isma/Il, who came into power as a young re- 
former of whom great things were expected by the liberal 
element which, by this time, under the inspiring leadership of 
Jamal, had acquired an influence to be reckoned with. Tawfik 
Pasha, it seems, had given assurances to Jamal and his group 
before he came to the throne that, when he had attained to 
power, he would aid their efforts at reform. But he had 
scarcely taken his seat as Khedive when, in September, 1879, 
he expelled Jamal al-Din from Egypt along with his faithful 
Persian disciple, Abu Turab. 2 

1 Muhammad Rashid Rida has pointed out (Al-Mandr, ii. (1899), 245), 
that three principal charges were directed against Jamal in Egypt by the 
conservative Shaikh class: his knowledge of philosophy, his refusal to be 
bound by certain religious customs which had become, in the eyes of the 
people, a part of religion, and the fact that many of his followers paid no 
attention to religion. To this latter accusation Rashid Rida replies, that this 
is the fault of their previous training and not of their association with 
Jamal al-Din. 

2 Two explanations have been advanced for this unexpected action of 
Tawfik Pasha. The one proposed by Muhammad Rashid Rida {Al-Manar t 

8 Al-Sayyid Jamal al-Dm al- Afghani 

After his expulsion from Egypt, Jamal went again to India 
and took up his abode at Hyderabad in the Deccan. Here 
he composed in Persian the only lengthy work which has 
survived of which he was the author, 1 the Refutation of the 
Materialists, a defence of Islam against modern derogatory 
attacks. In the year 1882, the 'Young Egyptian Movement', 
with which Jamal had been so prominently identified, culmi- 
nated in the 'Arab! Rebellion and the subsequent occupation 
of Egypt by Great Britain. During the progress of hostilities, 
Jamal was detained by the Indian Government in Calcutta 
under surveillance, but on the collapse of the Egyptian 
Nationalist movement he was permitted to leave India. He 
went to London, remained a few days, and then went to 
Paris, where he stayed three years. 2 

Upon his arrival in Paris, he entered upon a period 
of active international propaganda. His political views, 

viii. 404) is that as soon as Tawfik Pasha succeeded to the seat vacated by 
his father, Jamal and his party began to press for the fulfilment of his 
earlier promises, especially for the formation of a representative assembly, 
which was the keystone of all the reforms which they hoped to introduce. 
But promises are notoriously easier to make before the assumption of 
office than to fulfil afterward. Tawfik Pasha apparently, therefore, found it 
more convenient to get rid of the troublesome reformer than to fulfil his 
promises. The other view, that of E. G. Browne {Pers. Rev., p. 8), is that 
the British Government, suspicious of the political activities of Jamal, 
brought pressure to bear upon the young Khedive in the difficult situation 
in which he found himself, and induced him to rid the country of the dan- 
gerous agitator. The two views may well supplement each other. Cf . Risalah, 
p. xxix ; Secret History of Egypt (1922), pp. 95, 96. Muhammad Rashld Rida 
in Tarikh, i. 76, writing with greater freedom than was possible in 1905, 
eonfirms the second view. He states that France and Great Britain united 
in their representations to the Khedive against any change in favour of a 
popular form of government. 

1 S. G. Wilson, Modem Movements among Moslems, states (p. 71) that a 
book by Jamal on the Qaliphate was suppressed. 

2 It has been stated, e.g. by Wilson, Modern Movements, p. 72, that Jamal 
al-Din at this time made a journey to America with the purpose of becoming 
a naturalized citizen, but did not remain. He does seem to have had this 
intention, but it is doubtful if he ever fulfilled it. Prof. Browne, a personal 
friend of Jamal, makes no allusion in his biographical account to a visit to 
America. W. S. Blunt, also a personal friend of Jamal, says, Secret History 
of Egypt, p. 120: 'I had also vainly tried to discover Jamal's whereabouts in 
America where, after wandering two years in India, he was said to be'. 
Michel, Risalah, Introd., p. xxii, says: 'His unedited correspondence which 
we have had occasion to examine shows us that he could not have made this 

Al-Sayyid Jamdl al-Din al- Afghani 9 

published in the French Press (for by this time he had learned 
some French), were widely read and received the closest 
attention of those European governments which had political 
interests in Muslim countries, especially Great Britain. 
During the year 1883 he carried on a controversy with Ernest 
Renan in the columns of Le Journal des Debats on the subject 
' Islam and Science ', the discussion centring about the ability 
of Islam to reform and adapt itself to modern civiliza- 
tion. In 1884 he was joined, at his own invitation, by his 
friend and former pupil, Muhammad c Abduh, who had been 
exiled from Egypt for complicity in the 'Arab! uprising. 
Together they began the publication of an Arabic weekly 
newspaper called Al-'Urwah al-Wuthkah (called in French Le 
Lien Indissoluble), 'The Indissoluble Bond', with the object 
of arousing the Muslim peoples to the need of uniting their 
forces against Western aggression and exploitation. Jamal, 
as political director of the paper, determined its aggressive 
and strongly anti-English tone, but Muhammad 'Abduh, as 
literary editor, wrote all the articles which appeared in it. 1 
The first number appeared on the fifth of Jamadi I, 1301, 
which corresponds to March 13, 1884. 2 Only eighteen numbers 
were issued, the last number appearing October 16, 1884. 3 
Great Britain excluded the paper from India and Egypt, the 
two countries chiefly to be influenced by its publication, and 
took repressive measures also against those who received 
copies of it. 4 But, in spite of its brief existence, the paper 
exerted a very great influence throughout the Muslim world, 
in stirring into consciousness the national spirit of decadent 
Muslim nations. 5 

1 Tarikh, ii. 229; also Al-Mandr, viii. 455; Michel, Introd., p. xxxv. 

2 Tarikh, ii, 229. 3 Al-Mandr, viii. 462; Tarikh, i. 380. 
* Al-Mandr, viii. 462 ; Mashdhlr, ii. 57. 

6 Muhammad Rashid Rida is of the opinion (Al-Mandr, viii. 455) that, 
had the paper been continued, it would have occasioned a general Muslim 
uprising. This paper was the organ of a secret organization bearing the 
same name, founded by Jamal, composed of Muslims of India, Egypt, 
North Africa, and Syria, the purpose of which was ' to unite Muslims and 
arouse them from their sleep and acquaint them with the dangers threaten- 
ing them and guide them to the way of meeting these dangers'. (Al-Mandr, 
viii. 455 ; Tarikh, i. 283, 306.) The immediate aim of the organization was to 
free Egypt and the Sudan from the British occupation. Jamal also origin- 
ated in Mecca a Pan-Islamic society called 'Umm al-!KLurah', with the object 

10 Al-Sayyid Jamdl al-Din al- Afghani 

Upon the collapse of AVTJrwah al-Wuthkah, Jamal, after 
having made a brief visit to London to discuss with British 
politicians the affairs of the Mahdi uprising in the Sudan, 1 
went to Moscow and later St. Petersburg. In both places he 
was given a very cordial reception. Here, again, his news- 
paper articles on the political affairs of Afghanistan, Persia, 
Turkey, and England created a deep impression in political 
circles. His stay in Russia extended over four years. 2 

In 1889 while in Munich on a confidential mission for the 
Shah of Persia, he met the Shah, Nasir al-Din, then on a visit 
to Europe. The Shah persuaded him to accompany him to 
Persia and become Prime Minister. According to one account 3 
this was the second time that Jamal had acted as a minister 
in the Shah's Cabinet. In 1886, this account states, he was 
invited by cable from the Shah to come to Persia, had acceded 
to the summons and been accorded an honourable reception 

of creating one Caliph over the whole Muslim world. This society, however, 
was suppressed by the Sultan 'Abd al-Hamld within a year of its being 
founded. Pers. Rev., p. 15 ; Modern Movements, p. 72, As evidence that the 
authority of Al^Urwah continues, even to the present day, Goldziher (art., 
Enc. Islam) cites the fact that a new edition of the articles which it con- 
tained was published in 1910. A still later edition has been published in 
1928. As further evidence, it is related in Al-Mandr, xxii (1921), 525 sqq., 
that, when an article was published in one of the daily newspapers, over the 
signature of one of the leading 'Ulama of Egypt, it was recognized by num- 
bers of the people, even in the villages, as one of Muhammad 'Abduh's 
articles which originally appeared in Al-* Urwah. 

1 This was in 1885. Cf. Pers. Rev., pp. 402, 403; Mashahlr, ii. 57; Al 
Mandr, viii. 457. In the latter, the decision of the British Foreign Minister 
to abandon the idea of the reconquest of the Sudan was due to the represen- 
tations of Jamal and Muhammad 'Abduh. According to W. S. Blunt 
(quoted Pers. Rev., p. 403), Jamal came to England to discuss the possibility 
of coming to terms with the Mahdi. According to the same source, it was at 
one time arranged that Jamal should accompany a special British Mission 
to Constantinople that he might exert his influence with the court of 'Abd 
al-Hamld in favour of a settlement which should include England's evacua- 
tion of Egypt and an English alliance against Russia with Turkey, Persia, 
and Afghanistan. But at the last moment it was decided that he should not 
go, although his tickets had already been secured. Jamal, highly incensed, 
left in a dudgeon for Moscow and threw himself in with those who advocated 
a Russo -Turkish alliance against England. 

2 But see next paragraph. If two visits to Persia are accepted, the stay 
in Russia will be separated into two periods by the first visit to Persia, 
which intervened. 

3 Mashahlr, ii. 57. It is to be noted that the account given in Tarikh, i. 
54, makes no mention of a second visit to Persia. 

Al-Sayyid Jamdl al-Din al- Afghani 11 

and made Minister of War. His conspicuous learning and 
eloquence, united with his manifest zeal for the welfare of the 
country, won for him unusual influence, not only with the 
learned and official classes but also with the common people. 
The Shah began to be suspicious, fearing that Jamal would 
employ this influence to undermine the Shah's position. 
Jamal, becoming aware of this change of attitude in the 
Shah, asked permission to take a 'change of air' out of the 
country, and went to Russia. When, in 1889, he returned a 
second time to Persia by the Shah's urgent invitation, he was 
again received by the people as their leader and spokesman 
in their hopes for the betterment of the deplorable conditions 
of Persia. For some time all went well between the Shah and 
his Prime Minister. But the former's suspicions again got the 
better of him. Jamal again asked permission to leave the 
country but was refused with discourtesy. He then took 
refuge in the shrine of the Mosque of Shah ( Abd al-'Azim, 
where he remained for about seven months. He now broke with 
the Shah, openly denouncing him and advocating his deposi- 
tion . His influence with all classes of the people grew . Among 
his disciples were twelve who were later prominent in connexion 
with the Persian ' Risorgimento ' or nationalist revolution. One 
of these disciples assassinated the Shah on May 1, 1896. 1 

The Shah finally violated the sanctuary of the mosque and 
had Jamal arrested, although on a sick-bed at the time, and 
conveyed to the Turkish frontier. The date of this expulsion 
is uncertain, but it was about the close of 1890 or the begin- 
ning of 1891. 2 Jamal remained in Basra until his health was 

1 The assassin, Mirza Riza of Kirman, on cross-examination confessed 
that only Jamal was privy to his plan" to kill the Shah, ef. Pers. Bev., p. 67. 
Jamal, while in London and also while in Constantinople, had savagely 
attacked the Shah in print and in public addresses. When the Shah was 
shot, the Persian Government demanded the extradition of Jamal along 
with three others who were suspected of complicity in the plot, but the 
Sultan refused to give up Jamal. The other three were returned and secretly 
put to death in Tabriz (Pers. Bev., p. 11). 

2 Pers. Bev., p. 11: Jamal states, quoted Tarikk, i. 55, that the plan of 
taking refuge in the shrine was a ' stratagem ' on his part, since any one who 
took refuge in the sanctuary was regarded as free from molestation. He 
further states that, after seven months, he 'went out' from the shrine, 
apparently of his own will, although the expression is not decisive and 
allows the fuller statement as given above. 

12 Al-Sayyid Jamal al-Din al- Afghani 

recovered and then made his way to London, returning in 
1892 to Constantinople where he remained until his death. 
Although he was accorded high honours by the Sultan *Abd 
al-Hamid and lived in enjoyment of the Sultan's bounty, 
nevertheless he was, in reality, being kept in 'gilded captivity '- 1 
His death occurred on March 9, 1897, as a result of cancer of 
the jaw which soon spread to the neck. 2 He was buried with 
great public acclaim in the 'Shaikhs' Cemetery' in Con- 

The activities of this remarkable man thus encompassed 
practically all of the lands of Islam and also those European 
countries the governments of which are involved in the affairs 
of Muhammadan peoples. Afghanistan, Persia, Turkey, 
Egypt, India, all, at one time or another, experienced his 
potent contact and were affected by it. The Persian Revolu- 
tion, which had its beginnings in the agitation against the 
Tobacco Monopoly in 1891 and culminated with the inaugura- 
tion of the Constitution on August 5, 1906, was inspired and 
sustained in its earlier stages by his advice and encourage- 
ment. 3 The successful Young Turk movement of 1908 was 
being prepared for by his agitation during the years he spent 
in Constantinople. In the Egyptian Nationalist movement 
which, in its earlier phase, terminated so ingloriously in the 
failure of the 'Arab! uprising, he was the prime mover, and to 

1 Risalah, p. xxii. 

2 More than a suspicion was entertained by the Persian friends of Jamal 
that the disease which caused his death, although superficially resembling 
cancer, was in reality the result of inoculation of the lip by means of a 
poisoned tooth-pick. This is denied by most Turks (Pers, Rev., pp. 12, 96). 
Also a biographical note in the introduction to Al-Kada wa al-Kadar, a brief 
treatise on the Divine Decrees and Predestination by Jamal, where the 
charge of foul dealing is definitely made. 

3 It was a letter of Jamal' s which stirred Hajji Mirza Hasan-i-Shirazi, one 
of the chief Mujtahids of Persia, to issue his fatwd declaring the use and 
cultivation of tobacco unlawful so long as the Concession continued. The 
people followed his leadership by boycotting tobacco until finally the 
Government, aroused by the resentment of the people, rescinded the hated 
Concession. The ultimate results of this alliance between the clergy and the 
people were seen in the assassination of the Shah and the Prime Minister, 
and finally in the granting of a constitution. Cf . translation of the letter to 
the Mujtahid, and of two articles by Jamal on the condition of Persia, from 
the Arabic periodical Ziya al-Khafiqayn, in Per. Bev., pp. 15 sqq. The whole 
book is a full and admirable account of the revolution from its beginnings. 
Cf . also summary of events in Modern Movements, pp. 242-8. 

Al-Sayyid Jamal al-Din al- Afghani 13 

no less a degree in the intellectual and religious awakening 
represented by Muhammad 'Abduh, as will be shown later. 
'Wherever he went', says Michel in his biography of Shaikh 
Muhammad 'Abduh, 'he left behind him a hot-bed of con- 
tention, and it can be said without exaggeration, that all the 
movements of national emancipation, of reaction against 
European enterprise, which we have been witnessing in the 
Orient for a score of years, have their origin directly in his 
propaganda. n 

The chief aim of Jamal al-Din in all his untiring efforts and 
ceaseless agitation, was the accomplishment of the unification 
of all Muslim peoples under one Islamic government, over 
which the one Supreme Caliph should bear undisputed rule, 
as in the glorious days of Islam before its power had been 
dissipated in endless dissensions and divisions, and the Muslim 
lands had lapsed into ignorance and helplessness, to become 
the prey of Western aggression. 2 The present decadent con- 
dition of Muslim countries weighed heavily upon him. He 
believed that if these countries were once freed from the 
incubus of foreign domination or interference, and Islam 
itself reformed and adapted to the demands of present-day 
conditions, the Muslim peoples would be able to work out for 
themselves a new and glorious order of affairs, without 
dependence on, or imitation of, European nations. 3 To him, 
the religion of Islam was, in all essentials, a world religion and 
thoroughly capable, by reason of its inner spiritual force, of 
adaptation to the changing conditions of every age. 

It was characteristic of the man's temperament that the 
means which he chose for the realization of his aims should be 
that of political revolution. This seemed to him the quick 
and sure way of securing for Islamic peoples the freedom 

1 Eisdlah, p. xxiii. 

2 Mashdhir, ii. 61; Modern Movements, p. 72; Pers. Rev. t pp. 14, 15. 
Muhammad Rashld Rida, in Tarikh, i. 73, takes occasion to correct the 
statement of Mashdhlr that Jamal was supremely devoted to the Ottoman 
Caliphate. His objective was to raise up some Muslim power that would 
become a rallying point for all Muslim nations. He began with Egypt ; when 
his plans failed there, he pinned his hopes on the Mahdi uprising in the 
Sudan; then he tried Persia, and finally, the Ottoman Empire. See also 
Muhammad 'Abduh's account of Jamal's aims, Tarikh, i. 34. 

3 Cf . Korancmslegung, p. 321 ; Risalah, pp. xxiii, xxx. 

14 Al-Sayyid Jamdl al-Din al- Afghani 

necessary to enable them to set their own house in order. 
The way of gradual reform and education was too long and 
uncertain for him ; he wished to see results in his own lifetime. 1 
Therefore, he agitated for the overthrow of the existing order. 
The deposition or even the assassination of Muhammadan 
rulers who, by encouraging or acquiescing in European 
encroachment, hindered them from working out their own 
salvation in their own way, was a legitimate means to the 
desired end. 2 

But with all his radical aims and methods, there is a con- 
structive phase to his activities which should not be over- 
looked. He was animated by a genuine desire for the re- 
generation of Islam and an ardent faith in the possibility of 
its regeneration which was contagious. 3 His efforts for the 
union of Sunnis and Shi f ahs by mutual concessions and adjust- 
ments, 4 while primarily political in significance, are indicative 
of the spirit of religious tolerance which he conceived to be 
necessary for the healing of age-long divisions in the Muslim 
world. His prodigious learning in all fields of Muslim lore won 
for him the respect and homage of learned men in all the 
Muhammadan lands in which he sojourned and attracted to 
him groups of eager disciples to whom he imparted his methods 
of reconciling the historic theological and philosophical posi- 
tions of Islam with the attainments of modern scientific 

It was because of the intransigent attitude of the shaikh 
class in Egypt, as Muhammad Rashid Rida remarks, 5 that 

1 Cf. Al-Manar, viii. 400, Risalah, p. xxiii. 

2 Jamal once said, in an interview with Prof. Browne: 'No reforms can 
be hoped for till six or seven heads are cut off', and he specified by name 
the Shah of Persia and his Prime Minister, both of whom were afterwards 
assassinated (Pers. Rev., p. 45, cf. also p. 28). W. S. Blunt in his Secret 
History of Egypt, p. 95, also p. 101, says that in the spring of 1879 it was 
much discussed, among the group of reformers influenced by Jamal, how 
and by what means the Khedive Isma'il might be deposed, or, if there were 
no other way, even assassinated. And again, p. 489, quoted Cromer, Modern 
Egypt, ii. 181, footnote, he mentions a statement of Muhammad 'Abduh's 
that a more definite plan of assassination had been talked over, but did not 
mature for lack of a suitable person to take the lead in it. 

3 Cf . Pers. Rev., p. 29 ; Michel, Risalah, Introd., p. xxiii. 

4 Cf. Pers. Rev., p. 30; Modern Movements, p. 72. 
B Al-Manar, ii. ( 1899), 246. 

Al-Sayyid Jamal al-Din ah Afghani 15 

the number of those interested in the religious sciences who 
attached themselves to Jamal was small ; and therefore the 
literary revival appeared among the ' effendi ' or Europeanized 
class. And for the same reason, although Jamal paid much 
attention to educational and religious reform, those who were 
inspired by him to attempt to bring about such reforms were 
few. It can be readily understood that the radical political 
appeal of Jamal should find a ready response among young 
patriots to whom the field of political agitation offered not 
only an apparently quick and easy method of attaining 
national independence, but also provided opportunity for the 
expression of vociferous, if not always deeply pondered, 
nationalistic sentiments; while the more sober and funda- 
mental reforms which he also advocated should find few 
champions. That the more constructive ideas were also 
fundamental in his teaching is demonstrated in the life and 
work of Muhammad 'Abduh, the one of his disciples who 
most deeply imbibed of his spirit. 

An example of the more constructive side of his teaching is 
given at the close of his book, Refutation of the Materialists, in 
a section entitled, 'The means by which the happiness of 
nations may be attained.' 1 This brief statement contains 
many of his fundamental ideas, all of which may be found 
reproduced in the teaching of Muhammad 'Abduh. Because 
it is of some importance in this double connexion, it is given 
here in summary. It is necessary, he says, in order that the 
happiness of nations may be attained : 

1. That the minds of the people should be purified of belief in 
superstitions and foolish notions. 

Islam requires this, especially because the doctrine of the Unity 
of God requires the clarifying of the mind and forbids such f oolish 
and extravagant notions as idolatry, or incarnations and suffering 
of the deity. 

2. That the people should feel themselves capable of attaining 
the highest levels of nobility of character and should be desirous 
of doing so. The only thing which cannot be reached by him who 
desires it is prophecy, which God confers on whomsoever He will. 

1 Al-radd 'aid al-dahriyyin, translated from the Persian into the Arabic by 
Shaikh Muhammad 'Abduh, Al-Rahmaniyyah Press, Cairo, 1925, pp. 82-90. 

16 Al-Sayyid Jamal al-Dln al- Afghani 

If all the people were persuaded of the possibility of attaining 
perfection of character they would vie with one another in en- 
deavours to attain it. 

Islam made possible perfection for all. It is not like Brahmanism 
which divides men into castes, the limits of which cannot be over- 
stepped. Nor like Judaism, which despised men of other religions 
and instituted within itself the priesthood as the caste nearest 
God, without the mediation of which no one could attain nearness 
to God. 

3. That the articles of belief of the religion of the nation should 
be the first subject taught to the people, and this should be done 
by teaching also the proper reasons and arguments in support of 
these beliefs, that the religious beliefs of the people should not rest 
upon mere acceptance of authoritative teaching (tab-lid). Guizot, 
in his work on ' Civilization ', shows that the most potent element 
in the modern progress and civilization of Europe was the ap- 
pearance of a religious party that claimed the right of investigating 
the sources of religious belief for themselves, and demanding proof 
for these beliefs. 

Islam is almost alone among the religions of the world in address- 
ing itself to man's reason, and demanding that he should accept 
religious belief only upon the grounds of convincing argument and 
not of mere claim and supposition. Contrasted with Islam are 
other religions, such as those which require the belief that one can 
be more than one and the many can be one, a belief which its 
professors justify on the ground that it is above reason and cannot 
be grasped by reason. 

4. That in every nation there should be a special class whose 
function would be the education of the rest of the people, and 
another class whose function would be the training of the people 
in morals. One class would combat natural ignorance and the 
need of instruction, the other would combat the natural passions 
and the need of discipline. These two provisions, the teacher to 
perform the work of instruction, and the disciplinarian to com- 
mand that which is good and to prohibit that which should be 
avoided, are among the most important provisions of Islam. 

Islam is thus the only religion by which the happiness of nations 
can be attained. 

If it be objected, ' Why then are the Muslims in the evil state in 
which we find them ? ', the answer may be given in the words of 
the Kur'an: 'Verily God will not change the state of a people 
until they change their own state' {I^ur'an, 13. 12). 

Al-Sayyid Jamal al-Dln al- Afghani 17 

The character and influence of Jamal al-Din have been 
finely epitomized in brief statements by two of his biographers, 
one a Western scholar and writer, the other an Eastern. 
Professor E. G. Browne says of him, that he was a man of 
'enormous force of character, prodigious learning, untiring 
activity, dauntless courage, extraordinary eloquence both in 
speech and in writing, and an appearance equally striking 
and majestic. He was at once philosopher, writer, orator, 
and journalist, but above all, politician, and was regarded by 
his admirers as a great patriot and by his antagonists as a 
dangerous agitator'. 1 

The other estimate is by Jirji Zaidan, his Syrian biographer, 
in his biographical accounts of Eastern Celebrities. After 
saying that the goal of all Jamal's efforts was the unification 
of Islam, he continues : 'In this endeavour he expended all his 
powers and for the sake of it he cut himself off from the world ; 
for he never took a wife nor did he seek any gain. But for all 
that, he did not attain what he desired and laboured for ; and 
he left no record of his ideas except the treatise against the 
materialists, and various treatises on different subjects already 
mentioned. Yet he instilled into the souls of his friends and 
disciples a living spirit which aroused their energies and 
sharpened their pens, and the East has profited and shall 
profit by their deeds.' 2 

1 Pers. Rev. f pp. 2, 3. 2 MashaMr, ii. 61. 



1849-77: Preparation. 

WHEN Jamal al-Din was bidding farewell to some of his 
Egyptian friends and followers at Suez in 1879, as he 
was leaving Egypt for the last time, he is reported to have 
said to them : 'I leave you Shaikh Muhammad 'Abduh, and he 
is sufficient for Egypt as a scholar. n Muhammad ( Abduh was 
at this time about thirty years of age. For about eight years 
he had been under the influence of Jamal al-Din. He had 
already entered upon his work of teaching, had published his 
first two works, and was a frequent contributor to the news- 
papers on subjects of public interest. He had shown in a 
marked degree both capacity and inclination, not only for 
scholarship but also for the work of public reform. He was 
Jamil's ablest pupil and the one closest to him and most 
sympathetic towards his views. It was only natural, therefore, 
that when Jamal had to relinquish, by force of circumstances, 
the work which he had begun in Egypt, he should look to 
Muhammad 'Abduh to carry it on to completion. And in 
leaving such a successor, he bequeathed to Egypt and to 
Islam a legacy, the full ' sufficiency ' of which even he could 
not have foreseen. 

Thus the stream of Egyptian reformation, though taking 
its rise, like the Nile, from a source beyond the confines of the 
country, was destined to attain its full flood through Egyptian 
channels. For Muhammad 'Abduh was a pure Egyptian ; he 
came from a family belonging to the 'fallah' or peasant class 
of the Egyptian Delta. 2 True, his father 'Abduh ibn Hasan 
Khair Allah, came from a family of Turkish origin that had 
settled in the village of Mahallat Nasr in the Buhairah 
Province at some remote time in the past ; 3 and his mother 
came from a village near Tanta in the Gharbiyyah Province, 
of a large family related originally to the family of Ban! 'Adi, 
that of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab the second Caliph, to whose 

1 Mashahir, i. 281. 3 Cf. Risalah, p. ix. 

3 Al-Manar, viii. 379; Tdrlkh, i. 13. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 19 

line of descent the mother was reputed to belong. 1 But both 
families had so long been settled on the soil of Egypt that they 
partook completely of the characteristics and manner of life 
of the Egyptian peasant class. 

Birth and Early Years. 1849-65. 

The exact birthplace of Muhammad 'Abduh is unknown, 
nor is the year of his birth entirely certain. The year 1849 
(a.h. 1266) is the date most commonly accepted: 2 he himself 
gives this date in his writings, although he also mentions a 
year earlier; 3 but other dates are given by others, even as 
early as 1842. 4 Towards the close of the reign of Muhammad 
'All Pasha (1805-49) the father of Muhammad f Abduh had to 
flee from his village in order to escape the oppression of 
officials of his own province. He came to the Gharbiyyah 
Province and during the next few years made his home in a 
number of villages in succession. It was during this unsettled 
period that he married the mother of Muhammad and that 
Muhammad was born. Some few years later, while Muham- 
mad was still a child, he returned, with his family, to Mahallat 
Nasr, where he had acquired some land. 

Here ' Abduh grew T up, after the manner of life common to 
lads in the small villages of Egypt. He developed a sturdy con- 
stitution and became proficient in swimming, horsemanship, 

1 Al-Manar, viii (1905), 379. 

2 Cf. Risdlah, p. ix; Koranauslegung, p 321; M. Horten, 'Muhammad 
Abduh, sein Leben und seine theologisch-philosophische Gedankenwelt ', in 
Beitrdge zur Kenntniss des Orients, xiii (1915), 85. 

3 Al-Manar, viii. 390. 'Abduh's own account in Tdrikh, i. 16 gives a.h. 

4 Great confusion on this point appears in the accounts of newspapers and 
magazines of the date of Muhammad 'Abduh's death which are reproduced 
in Tdrikh, vol. iii. His age is variously given as 60 (p. 41), 62 (p. 38), 65 
(p. 80). The date of his birth is given as a.h. 1258 (a.d. 1842) by the 
magazine Al-Diya, edited by Shaikh Ibrahim al-Yaziji, and by Al-Hilal, 
edited by Jurji Zaidan (cf. same account in Mashdhir, i. 281—7), vide 
Tdrikh, iii. 95, 110. The same date also is given, pp. 100, 136, 191. Other 
dates are 1843, p. 148, and 1845, pp. 19, 131. The date given by Al-Manar 
(cf. above), 1266-1849, is given also by Hasan Pasha 'Asim, a friend and 
supporter of Muhammad 'Abduh, in the biographical account recited 
at the memorial service, Tdrikh, iii. 237. Cf. also pp. 33, 124. This is 
evidently the date accepted by the friends and followers of Muhammad 

20 Muhammad *Abduli: Biography 

and the use of firearms, 1 and acquired a love of an active out- 
door life which he retained to old age. Many of the charac- 
teristics which he displayed in later life reflected the best 
features of the patriarchal village life and customs, particu- 
larly his reserved and dignified and always courteous bearing ; 2 
while his sympathetic understanding of the needs of the great 
mass of the people and his passionate desire for the uplift of 
the whole nation, are the outgrowth of his early peasant life, 
when he listened to the frequent tales of the days of Muham- 
mad 'All Pasha, then still recent in the memory of his elders. 
For, as has always been the case in Egypt from time im- 
memorial, however brilliant the outward aspects of the reign 
of the ruling sovereign may have been, a burden of grinding 
hardship fell upon the common people. 3 

His parents seem to have been persons of worthy character, 
although entirely uneducated, as are the great majority of 
the middle and lower classes of Egypt even until the present 
day. Muhammad 'Abduh, in his autobiography, which, 
unfortunately, he never completed, speaks of his father in 
terms of much respect, and indicates that he was held in much 
esteem in his own village. 4 The father seems at this time to 
have acquired enough ease of circumstances to provide for a 
teacher to come to the house to teach reading and writing to 
the youngest of his sons, for whom he was desirous of securing 
opportunities of education that had been denied to his other 
children. But his position was probably little above that of 
the villager who possesses a little land. 5 

When ten years of age, the young Muhammad, after having 
learned reading and writing, was sent to the home of a 'hafiz ', 
or professional reciter of the Kur'an, that he might learn to 
recite the Kur'an from memory. This task he accomplished 
in two years, which was regarded as an unusual performance 
and much to the credit of the teacher. This was the first step 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 396. 2 Ibid., p. 541. 

3 Muhammad 'Abduh's father, as noted above, himself suffered from the 
oppression of those days. 4 Cf. Eisalah, pp. x, xi; Tarlkh y i. 13. 

6 Cf. the biographical sketch reproduced in Tdrikh, iii. 19 sqq., where the 
poverty of the parents is said to have been so extreme that their house had 
no door. This is represented as the result of their great generosity. But both 
statements may be extreme, since generosity is a much lauded virtue. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 21 

in the only type of education which was then open to lads of 
families in the social position of Muhammad ( Abduh's parents ; 
if he carried his studies far enough, he could in time become 
an "Alim', or 'shaikh', a man educated in the various 
branches of Muslim theology; or he could become a 'faklh', 
a man trained in the interpretation and application of the 
multitudinous and perplexing details of the Sharfah, or 
Divine Law of Islam. The few schools conducted by the 
Government at this time, which were modelled along Euro- 
pean lines, were open only to sons of officials. 

The foundation of his education having been thus laid, the 
youthful Muhammad, then about thirteen years of age, was 
in 1862, sent to the school of the Ahmadi Mosque 1 in Tanta, 
that he might perfect the memorizing of the Kur'an, and 
particularly learn to recite or intone it according to the strictly 
determined rules of the art, which is an important part of a 
theological education. An older stepbrother of Muhammad 
was a teacher in this school, with some reputation for the 
excellence of his Kur'an intonation. 2 After about two years 
spent in this study, he was initiated into the mysteries of 
Arabic grammar. But it was an unfortunate beginning which 
the young would-be neophyte made in his first attempt to 
master the science of the Arabic language. He was required, 
according to the regular methods of instruction, to learn by 
memory the text of an Arabic grammar, together with the 
comment on this text of some reputed master of the subject. 3 
'I spent a year and a half, he says in his autobiography, 
referring to this period of study, 'without understanding a 

1 The larger schools of religious foundation conducted in the precincts of, 
or in connexion with, the larger mosques, were at this time, besides the 
celebrated 'University' of Al-Azhar in Cairo, which enjoyed undoubted 
primacy not only in Egypt but also throughout the Muslim world, those of 
Tanta, Alexandria, Dassuk, Damiatta, and, of later foundation, one at 
Assiut. The methods of instruction and courses of study were essentially 
similar in all of these. In his later reforms, Muhammad *Abduh attempted 
to affiliate the schools outside of Cairo more closely with Al-Azhar and co- 
ordinate their courses of study. The tremendous strides in public education 
in Egypt in recent years have been made in schools conducted by the 
Government (aside from private schools), of a type approximating more or 
less closely European standards. 3 Al-Mandr f viii. 381. 

3 The text was that of ' Sharh al-Kaf rawl ! ala al-Ajurrumiyyah'. Al- 
Manar, viii. 381. 

22 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

single thing, because of the harmful character of the method 
of instruction; for the teachers were accustomed to use 
technical terms of grammar or jurisprudence which we did 
not understand, nor did they take any pains to explain their 
meaning to those who did not know it.' 1 Despairing of success 
in his studies, he ran away from school and hid for three 
months with some of his uncles ; but his stepbrother happened 
upon him and took him back to Tanta. But so thoroughly 
persuaded was Muhammad that he would never succeed in 
learning that he took his belongings and returned to his 
village, intending to follow agriculture as most of his relatives 
were doing, and never return to his studies ; and with this 
intention he married, in the year 1865, at the age of sixteen, 2 
' This is the first effect which I experienced ', he says further 
in his autobiography, 'from the method of instruction in 
Tanta, and it is the very same method which is in use in the 
Azhar ; and this is the effect experienced by ninety-five out of 
a hundred of those whom fate does not permit to attend upon 
some one who does not follow this manner of instruction, 
namely, wherein the teacher throws out what he knows, and 
what he does not know, without paying regard to the pupil 
and his capacity for understanding. But the majority of the 
students who do not understand, deceive themselves into 
supposing that they do understand something, so that they 
continue their studies until they have reached the age of 
manhood, and all the while they are dreaming the dreams of 
children ; and thereafter they are inflicted upon the people 
and become a calamity upon the public.' 3 In an address which 
he delivered in 1884 to a gathering of learned men in Tunis 
upon the subject of education, and in which he urges, among 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 381. 

3 Ibid., p. 381. M. Horten, in Beitrage, xiii (1915), 88, dates his marriage 
in 1871, on the basis of a statement in Tankh, iii. 124. But the dates given 
throughout the article from which the statement is taken, which is repro- 
duced from a Tunisian newspaper, are manifestly unreliable, as is evident, 
e.g., from a comparison of the date in question, 1288/1871, when Muhammad 
'Abduh ran away from Tanta and was married, and that given for the be- 
ginning of his studies with Jamal, viz. 1287/1870. Other inconsistencies 
appear also in the same article in the matter of dates, although the main 
facts of the article are evidently reproduced from the biography of Al- 
Manar. 3 Ibid., pp. 381, 382. 

Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 23 

other things, better methods in beginning instruction in 
Arabic grammar, he refers again to his unfortunate experience 
in Tanta to illustrate the harmful effects of wrong methods. 1 
But he was not thus to escape his destiny, by fleeing from 
his studies. Forty days after his marriage, his father, 'for 
some purpose that God willed', 2 compelled him to return to 
Tanta to school. But on the way he escaped and hid himself 
among relatives in the village of Kanayyisat Adrin. 'And 
there ', he says in the address already referred to, 'I chanced 
upon one who taught me how to seek learning from its nearest 
point of approach, so that I tasted its attractiveness and 
persevered in the search for it.' 3 The person thus referred to, 
who became the mentor who woke within the young truant 
a love for studies and a zeal for the religious life, and thus 
changed the whole tenor of his life, was an uncle of Muham- 
mad's father, named Shaikh Darwish Khadr. This worthy 
man had travelled to some extent in the Libyan desert, and 
had even gone as far west as Tripoli. There he had taken up 
studies with a certain Sayyid Muhammad al-Madanl, 4 had 
gained some acquaintance with the Muslim sciences, and had 
been inducted by his master into the Shadhall order of the 
Sufi, or mystic, brotherhoods. 5 He had memorized large 
portions of works on canon-law and the traditions, and was 
especially proficient in reciting the Kur'an and also in under- 
standing it. After completing his studies, he had returned to 
his village and engaged in agriculture. 

1 Tafslr sural al-'asr, wa Khitab *am,m fi al-tarbiyah wa al-taHim, Cairo, 
Al-Manar Press, 2nd ed. (1330/1911), pp. 67, 68. 

2 Ibid., p. 68. s Ibid. 4 Al-Manar, viii. 382. 

6 The word ' order \ as applied to these fraternities, is the English, not the 
Arabic designation. The latter is 'tarikah', plural 'turuk', i.e. 'Way', 
'Path', referring to the method of instruction, initiation, and religious 
exercises, the object of which is, by moral purification and inducement of a 
state of ecstasy, to attain to mystical union with God. The ritual, accord- 
ingly, lays stress upon the emotional religious life. These orders are very 
numerous in the Muslim world, and it would be difficult to over-emphasize 
their importance to the common religious life of Islam. The Shadhall order 
is one of the most important and is very widely extended. It is strongly 
represented in Egypt, being much favoured by the Azhar University ; for it 
was under the shadow of the Azhar that Abu JJasan 'All al-Shadhall (d. a.d. 
1258) first organized the order. Vide Rinn, Marabouts et Khouan (Algiers, 
1884), pp. 220 sqq. ; Depont and Cappolani, Les Confreries religieuses musul- 
manes (Algiers, 1897), pp. 443 sqq. 

24 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

On the morning following Muhammad's arrival in the 
village, so he relates in the autobiography already referred to, 
Shaikh Darwish came to visit him, carrying in his hand a book 
dealing with the ethical teachings, moral discipline, and ascetic 
practices of the brotherhood to which he belonged. He re- 
quested Muhammad to read a portion of it aloud to him ; but 
with a rebellious dislike for books and all those who had 
anything to do with them, Muhammad cast the book from 
him. With quiet courtesy, the shaikh persisted in his request 
until, for shame, the young man took the book and read a few 
lines, which the shaikh explained as they were read, in a way 
to overcome Muhammad's prejudice and lack of understand- 
ing. Soon, however, the village youths came to summon 
Muhammad to join in their accustomed sports. He, therefore, 
at once flung down the book and went with them. The same 
afternoon the process was repeated, and on the following day. 
The third day a much longer time was spent in reading and 
Muhammad became so interested that he began to read the 
book of his own volition and mark passages for question or 
remark. By the fifth day he had become as impatient of 
everything that kept him from reading as he had formerly 
been of all study. The shaikh instructed him in Sufi doctrines 
and practices and gave him his first lessons in properly under- 
standing the Kur'an. The shaikh, moreover, impressed upon 
him a truth which came home to him almost with the force 
of a revelation, namely, that Muslims of unjust and untruth- 
ful life are, in reality, not true Muslims. 

Fifteen days were spent in this manner of study, and at the 
end of that time Muhammad returned to his lessons in 
Tanta. But how different now his spirit and his outlook on 
life. In this brief time he had been thoroughly won over to 
the Sufi ideals of the religious life. From the eighth day of 
his stay, he had begun to practise the religious exercises 
recommended by Shaikh Darwish. 'But a few days had 
passed (from the beginning of these practices),' he writes, 
' when, lo ! you saw me soaring in spirit in a different world 
from that which I had known. The way which had seemed to 
me straitened had widened out before me. The life of this 
world which had appeared great to me, had become small, 

Muhammad *Abduh; Biography 25 

and the acquirement of knowledge and the yearning of the 
soul towards God which had been small in my eyes had become 
great; and all my anxieties had been dispersed and there 
remained but one anxiety, namely, that I should become 
perfect in knowledge, perfect in discipline of the soul. 1 
Moreover, I had found no leader to guide me in that towards 
which my soul was inclined, except that shaikh who had in a 
few days delivered me from the prison of ignorance into the 
open spaces of knowledge, and from the bonds of blind 
acceptance of authoritative belief (taklid) into the liberty of 
the mystic union with God. . . . He is the key of my good 
fortune, if I have any in this life ; he restored to me the natural 
gift which had left me, and revealed to me the natural 
capacities with which I had been endowed, which had been 
hidden from me.' 

Thus with this experience there began a new period in the 
life of Muhammad 'Abduh. His interest in Sufism, aroused 
by Shaikh Darwlsh, gradually increased until it became the 
dominant influence in his life. During this second period, the 
shaikh retained his position as guide and mentor to the young 
student. But it remained for Muhammad's second and greater 
teacher, Jamal al-Din, to finally deliver him from his absorp- 
tion in the world of mysticism and induct him into wider 
fields of scholarship and practical activities. 2 

1 The terms are those in use among the mystics, 'Knowledge' (aZ- 
ma'rifah) is the ' Gnosis \ the divine inner light ; the 'discipline of the soul ' 
(adab al-nafs) is the course of ascetic and religious practices to which the 
'murid', or initiate, is subjected by his shaikh, or superior, with the purpose 
of leading him step by step from the lowest state of the soul to the highest, 
that of the 'Perfect Soul' (al-nafs al-hdmilah). Vide two articles by W. H. T. 
Gairdner, in Moslem World, vol. ii, on 'The Way of a Mohammedan Mystic'. 

2 The striking account of Muhammad 'Abduh in regard to the spiritual 
crisis through which he had passed, recalls the fact that many of the great 
mystics of Islam are said to have passed through similar spiritual crises at 
some time in their lives, which led them to adopt the mystical religious life. 
The case of Al-Ghazzali is an outstanding example in point. It might even 
be suggested that Muhammad 'Abduh, writing his memoirs at a time when 
he had become a figure of some importance in the religious life of Egypt, 
and, indeed, of the world of Islam, was influenced, consciously or uncon- 
sciously, in interpreting his early experiences, by his familiarity with the lives 
of the great mystics and also his own later experiences of mysticism, and 
thus crystallized into one definite crisis that which in reality was the result 
of a process extending over a considerable period of time. The suggestion 

26 Muhammad * Abduh: Biography 

Student and Mystic. 1865-77. 

It was in the month of October, 1865, that Muhammad 
1 Abduh returned to school in Tanta after the memorable two 
weeks spent under the training of Shaikh Darwish. He 
attached himself to two teachers who were beginning their 
courses of lectures and found to his joy that he had been so 
aroused from his former mental lethargy and indifference that 
he could understand what he read and heard. When the other 
students learned of his good fortune in being able to under- 
stand the lessons they flocked about him to avail themselves 
of his help in study. But, after a few months, he felt himself 

might perhaps seem gratuitous and uncalled for, were it not that some of the 
biographical accounts written by those outside of Muhammad 'Abduh's 
circle, while recognizing the decisive change which took place in his mind 
about this time with reference to his studies, give a more matter-of-fact 
explanation of it, and a somewhat different arrangement of events. Thus 
the daily newspaper Al-Shark, in its issue of July 12, 1905 {Tarlkh, iii. 19), 
says that at the age of seven Muhammad 'Abduh was sent to the village 
school (kuttab) and attended for three years much against his will, for he 
wanted to be a farmer (fallah) as his brothers were, and consequently 
learned nothing. His father then sent him to the Ahmad! Mosque school in 
Tanta for three years and later to the Azhar in Cairo for two years, with no 
better results. Three reasons for this are given by Muhammad 'Abduh, says 
Al-Shark i his desire to be a 'fallah' and the absence of inducements to study, 
the faulty methods of instruction, and the custom of the schoolboys of eating 
sweetmeats and unwholesome food at all hours, a practice which inevitably 
affected their ability to study. But, continues this account, when Muham- 
mad 'Abduh realized that his father was bent on his securing an education, 
he took counsel with himself and pulled himself together and thereafter 
learning was easy for him. No less responsible a writer than Jurji Zaidan 
in his biography of Muhammad 'Abduh in MashaMr, i. 281, after referring 
to the fruitless periods of study in the kuttab, at Tanta, and at the Azhar, 
and the fact that 'Abduh attributed this result largely to faulty methods of 
instruction, says that when the latter saw no escape from study, he roused 
himself and discovered for himself a method of study and set his mind to 
work in understanding what he read, and as a result found delight in learn- 
ing, and applied himself diligently in the pursuit of it. This explanation of 
Muhammad 'Abduh's coiirse of action seems reasonable enough, had not 
he himself supplied a more intimate view of his motives. If his account is 
the true one, the other is at fault in dating his intellectual awakening after 
he had spent two years in the Azhar instead of during his study in Tanta. 
Moreover, the other explanation does not account for his extreme devotion 
to mysticism during his later student days, which is an undoubted fact, 
accounted for by his own statement. On the whole, there seems to be no 
good reason for rejecting, as at least substantially trustworthy, the key to 
the character and conduct of Muhammad 'Abduh which he himself has 
supplied in this revealing bit of autobiography. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 27 

attracted to the famous centre of Islamic learning in Cairo, 
the great school of the Azhar Mosque, commonly called the 
Azhar University. He accordingly left Tanta in February, 
1866, and about a month later took up his studies at Al- 

The mosque of Al- Azhar was founded in the year a.d. 970 
by Jawhar, the general of the Fatimid Sultan Abu Tamim 
Ma'add (otherwise known as Al-Mu'izz li Din Allah, a.d. 952- 
75), the year following his occupation of Egypt and im- 
mediately after the building of the new capital city, Al- 
Kalvirah (Cairo), where his troops were quartered, the mosque 
being intended for the use of the troops. Two years later it 
was opened for services. The mosque was enlarged from 
time to time by the Fatimid sultans after the transfer of their 
capital to Cairo, it was liberally endowed, and a flourishing 
school was developed within its precincts. During the cen- 
turies which followed, many rulers added to the building and 
endowment, and the reputation both of the sanctity of the 
mosque and the excellence of the school came to be widely 
acknowledged throughout the world of Islam. As the glory 
of many of the older institutions, once famous centres of 
learning, began to fade as a result of the ravages wrought by 
the Mongol invasion in the East and of the decline of Islam 
in the West, the school of Al- Azhar rose to a position of the 
first importance ; and thus for centuries it has maintained its 
place as the leading Muslim educational institution and has 
attracted students from all Muslim lands. 

The school of Al-Azhar is known as the Azhar University 
because all, or the greater part, of the Muslim sciences are 
taught there; but it is not a university in the western 
acceptation of the word. 1 The education imparted is religious 
or theological; those who have studied within its walls 
qualify, according to their scholastic attainments, as canon 
lawyers or judges in the various Muslim courts, as teachers 

1 The school is referred to in Arabic as 'al-jami' al-azhar' i.e. 'the Azhar 
Mosque', or more simply as ( al- Azhar'. The title 'al-Azhar' signifies 'the 
Splendid' or 'the Flourishing'; but Vollers, in Leyden Enc. of Islam, art. 
'Al-Azhar', thinks the name is to be rightly interpreted as an allusion to 
' Al-Zahra', a title of Fatimah, since the mosque was founded by the Fatimid 

28 Muhammad "Abduh: Biography 

of the Arabic language or others of the sciences taught in 
Al-Azhar, as leaders of the public prayers or preachers in the 
mosques, as chanters of the Kur'an on public or private 
occasions, and are generally regarded by the commonalty as 
their authoritative religious teachers and leaders. All the 
sciences are valued for their relation to the proper interpreta- 
tion of the Kur'an and a correct knowledge of the doctrines 
and practices of Islam. The spirit which has dominated 
instruction in the university for centuries has been severely 
traditional. The chief object of the education which it 
imparts is not research and investigation for the purpose of 
improving the state of the sciences taught, but rather the 
transmission of these sciences as they were handed down by 
the early fathers of the faith, without change or deviation. 
The doors of independent investigation of the sources of the 
faith, and the formulation of independent opinion concerning 
them, were closed in Islam by the middle of the third century 
of the Hijrah, and consequently the authoritative interpreters 
of religion are those of the dim and distant past. It has only 
remained, therefore, for subsequent generations to elaborate 
and explain what the forefathers have laid down. 

This traditional spirit is evident in the estimate placed upon 
the various sciences. The most important branches are the 
' transmitted ' or ' traditional ' sciences (al-'ulum al-nakliyyak). 
These are: dogmatic theology (Him al-kaldm, Him al-tawhid), 
interpretation of the Kur'an (tafsir), the Traditions (hadith), 
jurisprudence (fikh), and its principles (usiil al-fikh) ; these are 
all based upon Divine revelation, and consequently, their 
sources are not subject to investigation or criticism, but are 
to be accepted as handed down by the fathers. These, with 
the addition of one or two other sciences, such as mysticism 
(tasamwuf), and ethics (Him al-akhldk), are known also as 
primary sciences, or those that are studied for their own sake 
("ulum al-makdsid). Next come the 'rational' sciences (al- 
'akliyyah), which are grammar and syntax of the Arabic 
language (nahw, sarf), prosody (Him al-'arud), rhetoric (al- 
baldghah) in its three branches (al-ma'dni, al-baydn, al-badV), 
logic (al-mantik), technical terms used in the science of the 
Traditions (mustalah al-hadith), and astronomy (al-hay'ah), 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 29 

the last named being studied chiefly for practical purposes in 
determining chronology and times of prayer. These are also 
known as 'auxiliary sciences' ( f ulum al-wasa'il), those that 
are studied as a means to the understanding of the traditional 
sciences. Other sciences such as belles-lettres, history, 
geography, the physical sciences, mathematics, &c, have, 
since the Middle Ages, fallen into neglect, or if taught at all 
have been taught in a very inadequate way. 1 

The teachers usually gave lectures to a circle of students 
who gathered about them, based upon the text of some author 
who was regarded as an authority upon the subject in hand ; 
but rarely was this text in the hands of the students. Rather 
the student set himself to memorize by rote the commentary 
(shark) of some later writer upon the original text, or the 
glosses (hdshiyah) of a still later writer upon the commentary, 
or still further superglosses and notes (taHikdt, takarlr) upon 
this, and the lesson consisted in discussion and explanation 
of the terms used by the writer. If a student succeeded in 
memorizing the text of one of these commentaries or glosses 
he considered that he understood the subject. 2 

Various attempts have been made from time to time to 
reform both the curriculum and methods of study of the 
Azhar, but always with indifferent success. Muhammad 
'All Pasha, though himself unlettered, had a great respect 
for European learning and desired to introduce it into Egypt ; 
so he sent his first Educational Mission to Paris in 1828, with 
the intention of introducing European sciences into the 
Azhar by means of the teachers who had studied in France. 
Various European works, mostly French, were also translated 
into Arabic. But these attempts to introduce a new spirit 
into the Azhar only aroused contempt and opposition within 
that ancient institution. However, about this time (1827), 
Shaikh Al-Tantawl, who afterwards went to St. Petersburg 
as a teacher of Arabic literature, began to give lectures upon 
the Makamat of Al-Hariri, a highly esteemed composition of 
rhymed prose of the twelfth century a.d., remarkable alike 

1 On the various sciences taught in the Azhar, vide Enc. Islam, art. *A1- 
Azhar' ; Risdlah, p. xviii; Beitrdge, xiii. 109; Tarikh, iii. 254. 
3 Cf. Al-Mandr, viii. 393, 399. 

30 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

for its difficult style and extensive vocabulary and the liberal 
sentiments to which it sometimes gives expression. Such 
lectures had never been given before. 1 Shortly before 
Muhammad *Abduh entered the Azhar, the Khedive Isma/Il, 
in his zeal for Europeanizing Egypt, had renewed the at- 
tempts to reform the Azhar. He was supported in this by 
Shaikh Muhammad al-'Abbasi al-Mahdi, an able and ener- 
getic scholar who was at that time Shaikh (or, as he may be 
called, Rector) of Al- Azhar. 2 Various improvements were 
introduced into the curriculum and management of the 
school, among them a schedule of examinations by a board 
of six examiners. Examinations had not previously been 
required. But strong opposition had been aroused, led by 
Shaikh 'Ulaish, an able scholar but a violent reactionist; so 
that when Muhammad 'Abduh entered the university, early 
in 1866, the reform movement was on the wane, although 
lectures were still being given by Shaikh Hasan al-Tawil on 
logic and philosophy. 

When Muhammad 'Abduh entered Al- Azhar, there was 
probably little in his personal appearance to distinguish him, 
in the eyes of the Azhar shaikhs, from hundreds of other 
young men of his age who had come in from the provinces. 
But his natural energy, his intellectual acumen, his thirst 
for learning, and his independent thought soon marked him 
as different from the majority of the students. For four years 
he followed the studies prescribed by the university and 
attended lectures with more or less regularity. He had not 
the patience to continue to sit under teachers whom he did 
not understand or from whose lectures he was not receiving 

1 The date given above for Shaikh al-TantawI's lectures is that given by 
Vollers in Enc. Islam, art. 'Al- Azhar'. Michel, IntrocL, p. xix, gives 1867, 
but it would seem by mistake. If Al-Tantawl had been giving lectures at 
this latter date, it would have been possible for Muhammad ( Abduh to have 
attended them, and it would seem natural for him, with his restless search 
for something new, to have done so. But he makes no mention of him, 
although he does name two other teachers who benefited him. Cf . below. 

2 Shaikh Al-'AbbasI was Shaikh al-Azhar from 1870 until 1882, when he 
was replaced by Muhammad al-Anbabl ; but he soon recovered his position 
and held it until 1887, when he was finally replaced by Al-Anbabi who was 
opposed to reform. Al-'Abbasi was thus in office during Muhammad 
'Abduh's student days. Cf. Enc. Islam, art. 'Al- Azhar'; Mashdhir, ii. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 31 

benefit ; so he absented himself from those lectures or sat 
reading from some book which he had brought with him. 
Meantime, he was searching eagerly through the books of the 
Azhar for information on subjects which were not being 
taught. His old friend and adviser, Shaikh Darwish, whom 
he continued to visit at intervals, encouraged him to study 
such subjects as logic, mathematics, and geometry, even 
though he had to search for them outside of the university. 
One teacher from whom he received help during this time 
was Shaikh Muhammad al-Basyuni. Somewhat later he 
attended the lectures of Shaikh Husan al-TawIl, already 
referred to, on logic and philosophy. But even Shaikh Hasan 
did not satisfy the desire that was in the heart of Muhammad 
' Abduh for something — he did not himself know exactly what 
— which he was not receiving. He felt that Shaikh Hasan's 
teaching was not definite and decisive in statement, but con- 
sisted of suppositions and conjectures. 1 Muhammad 'Abduh 
himself was never content to leave a subject until he under- 
stood it ; and finally he came to the place where, having 
understood a subject, he would not accept the teaching until 
satisfied with the proofs by which it was supported. 2 Later 
he used to say that the study of Arabic books according to 
the Azhar method had done injury to his intellect and his 
reason, and that for a number of years he had tried to sweep 
his mind clean of the influence of such methods but had never 
entirely succeeded. 3 

Meanwhile, from the time that he began his studies in the 
university, he was under the influence of Sufism and gave 
himself up more and more to the practice of it. 4 During the 
daytime he fasted, while still carrying on his studies, and 
spent the night in prayer, in reading the Kur'an, and in 
the performance of zikrs. 5 He even subjected himself to the 
wearing of a rough garment next to his body, and to other 
ascetic practices. 6 He walked about with downcast eyes and 
spoke to no one except when it was necessary in his contact 
with teachers and fellow students. 7 So absorbed did he 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 388. 2 Ibid., p. 400. 3 Ibid., p. 399. 

4 Ibid., p. 386. 5 Ibid., p. 396. 6 Ibid., p. 398. 

7 Ibid., pp. 386, 396. 

32 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

finally become in his studies and meditations and self-dis- 
cipline, that at times he lost all contact with the world of the 
senses and moved in an imaginary world where he thought 
that he held converse with the spirits of men of former 
generations. 1 He finally reached such a state of other- 
worldliness and aversion to association with people, that 
Shaikh Darwish, who had introduced him to the life of 
mysticism, felt it necessary, during a visit which Muhammad 
made to him about the year 1871, to win him back to a more 
natural and normal life. This the shaikh did by pointing out 
to him that his learning was of no value unless it afforded 
some light of guidance for himself and others, and that if he 
wished to be of benefit to his fellow religionists by sharing 
with them what he had learned and guiding them to the 
knowledge of real religion, he must mingle with them. 
Accordingly the shaikh took him to gatherings of the 
neighbours where Muhammad would be drawn into conversa- 
tion on various subjects, and thus little by little won him 
back to the world of reality. 2 

But it was Jamal al-Dln al-Afghani who finally cured 
Muhammad 'Abduh of his extreme devotion to Sufism, 
although the first book of the latter, which appeared in 
1874 under the title Bisalat al-wdridat (' Mystic Inspirations '), 
shows clearly the influence of his studies and experiences in 
mysticism, as well as of his studies in philosophy under 
Jamal ; and he retained his sympathy for Sufism throughout 
his life. In the introduction to the work just mentioned, 3 he 
tells of the great love of learning which possessed him and 
his eager but vain pursuit of it before the coming of Jamal 
al-Dln. In the course of his search he had happened upon 
some traces of what he calls 'the true sciences ' ; but he could 
find no one to guide him, and whenever he sought help he 
was told that to busy oneself with such subjects was unlawful 
or that the doctors of theology had proscribed them. * When 
I meditated upon the reason for this, 5 he says, 'I saw that 
when one is ignorant of a thing he hates it.' It was while he 
was in this state of perplexity that there 'arose the sun of 

1 Al-Manur, viii. 396. 2 Ibid., p. 398. 

3 Printed in Tdrikh, ii. 9-25. 

Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 33 

Truth' — it is thus that he refers to the arrival of Jamal 
al-Din — in whose light he attained satisfaction in his quest 
for knowledge, and found himself ushered into a new world 
in which mystic excesses had less and less attraction for him. 

It was because Jamal al-Din was himself a Sufi, and had 
travelled far along the mystic 'path' and was even more 
conversant with those things experienced by Sufis 'which it 
is unlawful to speak of than was Muhammad 'Abduh him- 
self, that he was able to convince his young pupil of his 
attainments in this respect as well as in the field of scholar- 
ship, and thus deliver him from the toils of an attraction from 
which few escape who have once been involved. 1 Sufism was 
the subject of conversation between them at their first 
meeting. Muhammad 'Abduh, in company with Shaikh 
Hasan al-Tawil, called upon Jamal al-Din soon after his 
arrival in Cairo for his first brief visit in 1869, and found him 
at his evening meal. In the conversation which followed, 
Jamal drew out his visitors on the subject of Kur'an inter- 
pretation, discussing with them what the orthodox interpre- 
ters have to say on certain passages, and what the Sufi 
interpretation of the same passages is. Ta$awwuf and 
tafsirl — mysticism and Kur'an interpretation — the two sub- 
jects at that time most dear to the heart of Muhammad 
' Abduh. As though with the insight and sympathy of a great 
teacher, Jamal discerned the inclinations and interests of the 
young student and sought to draw him to himself. 

When Jamal al-Din returned to Cairo from Constantinople 
about a year and a half later (March 22, 187 1), 2 Muhammad 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 397. 

3 In regard to this date, as in the case of many dates in the life of Muham- 
mad 'Abduh, there is lack of agreement among the various accounts. The 
dates given above are those given by E. G. Browne and MashaMr for Jamal's 
arrival in Egypt on the two separate occasions, between which there inter- 
vened the stay in Constantinople. He arrived first in Egypt 1285/1869. 
The address in Constantinople which led to his expulsion was given in 
Ramadan 1287/ close of 1870. He arrived in Egypt the second time the 
first of Muharram, 1288/ March 22, 1871. These dates agree best with pre- 
vious events in Jamal's life. But Muhammad 'Abduh says (Al-Manar t 
viii. 387) that he associated with Jamal, beginning with the first of Muhar- 
ram, 1287. In the Introd. to 4 Al-waridat' (Tarikh, ii. 9), he refers to the 
arrival of Jamal and the beginning of his studies with him as in 1290/1873, 
but he may there refer to some particular study, e.g. philosophy. Michel, 

34 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

'Abduh began to study regularly with him and soon came to 
* follow him like his shadow'. 1 In his enthusiasm he invited 
many of his fellow students and others to attend the gather- 
ings in the lodgings of Jamal, in which the latter not only 
read and discussed with his pupils many works of Muslim 
scholars which were then much neglected, but also charmed 
all who attended these gatherings with his own learned and 
engaging conversation and comment on a variety of subjects. 
He was always lavish, and even undiscriminating, in scatter- 
ing his treasures of wisdom to all who came, whether they 
were 'devotees of wisdom* or not. 2 His method of reading 
the ancient Arabic works was very different from that of the 
Azhar. ' He would often explain the meaning of a point under 
discussion until it became clear to the understanding, then he 
would read the statement of the book and apply it to the 
point in question ; if it was applicable, well; if not, he would 
point out what was lacking in it. Or he would read the state- 
ment of the book and examine into its proofs, and either 
establish it, or disprove it and establish a different conclusion. 
In this way he would proceed until he had given his own 
decision in matters discussed ; and he was not satisfied with 
a mere understanding of the book and assent to the opinions 
of the writer.' 3 

After he had read the ancient Arabic authorities in this 
way and imparted new life to them, he introduced his pupils 
to a number of modern works on various sciences, which had 
been translated into Arabic. Thus, still another world was 
opened before the gaze of Muhammad 'Abduh, that of 
Western scientific thought and achievement. This was to be 
scarcely a less decisive influence in his life than was the 
independent attitude of thought towards the ancient authori- 
ties which Jamal exemplified in his teaching. Jamal also 
trained his pupils in writing articles for the Press, on literary, 

Introd., p. xxiv, dates Jamal's arrival 1872. The confusion may in part 
arise from the necessity of using two systems of dating, the Christian and the 
Muslim. x Al-Mandr, viii. 389. 2 Ibid., p. 390. 

* Ibid., pp. 399, 400. A list of the works studied, in Sufism, logic, 
philosophy, jurisprudence, astronomy, ancient and modern, is given ibid., 
pp. 388, 389. Among the works on philosophy, the best known to Wester- 
ners is Theses and Explanations ('Al-isharat') of Avicenna (Ibn Sina, a.d. 

Muhammad f Abduh: Biography 35 

social, and political subjects, and gave them practice likewise 
in public speaking. In time Muhammad 'Abduh came to 
excel his master as an eloquent and convincing public speaker, 
for with all his fluency and power as a speaker, Jamal had not 
been born to the use of the Arabic language as Muhammad 
'Abduh had been and never entirely lost traces which indi- 
cated this fact. 1 

Muhammad 'Abduh has preserved the substance of two of 
Jamal al-Dm's lectures, in a digest of them which he con- 
tributed to the Press at the time of their delivery. 2 

The first is on 'The Philosophy of Education*. In this lecture, 
he compares health of morals to health of the physical organism 
in plant and animal life ; just as in the physical organism health 
depends upon the preservation of the proper balance between 
conflicting elements and tendencies, so that no one of two opposing 
tendencies becomes stronger than the other, so in moral health, 
it is necessary for a proper balance to be preserved between pairs 
of opposing tendencies, one a virtue and one a vice, as, for example, 
between courage and fear, or generosity and niggardliness. If one 
overpowers or outbalances the other, the moral health is impaired. 
The sciences of education and discipline have been developed to 
preserve to the soul its virtues, or to restore them if weakened or 
lost. Those who are entrusted with the education of a people and 
the training of its morals are 'physicians of souls and spirits', and 
should be familiar with the principles of moral health as physicians 
with those of physical health. They should know the history of 
their own nation and of other nations, their periods of advance- 
ment or decline, the causes of the moral weaknesses which have 
appeared among them and the proper remedy to be applied for 
their cure. Ignorance in these spiritual doctors will inevitably 
reflect itself in the moral health of the nation. Ignorant doctors 
are worse than none at all. These spiritual doctors who are 
responsible for moral guidance may be divided into two classes, 
orators and preachers , and writers and authors , including j ournalists . 

In the second lecture, on 'The Arts', after speaking of the 
various stages of man's intellectual and social development, and 
showing how the various useful arts have been evolved in the 
process of man's development, and their value to society, he pro- 
ceeds to demonstrate the necessity of co-operation between the 
various arts and between the various individuals for the benefit 

1 Ibid., p. 389 ; cf. above, p. 4, n. 1. 2 Tarikh, ii. 26-36. 

36 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

of society. The arts are dependent, one upon the other, and each 
individual is dependent upon many arts, even for the physical 
necessities of life. ' How then can he be independent when he is in 
need of the fruits of all the arts day by day, indeed hour by hour ? 
Co-operation in work is therefore a necessity that each one may be 
repaid for the value of his own work by the fruit of the work of 
others. Thus, human society will become like a body composed of 
members, wherein each member works for the benefit of the body. ' 
If the individual realizes this mutual interdependence, he should 
endeavour to take his place as a true member of the body and work 
for the benefit of the whole. 'The principle of this work for the 
whole body is what we call "the arts", so that if any one has no 
real work to do which will benefit human society and will be of 
assistance to the order of the whole organization, he is like the 
paralytic member which is of no value to the body but rather a 
burden. * 

But Jamal al-Din imparted to his pupils much more than 
mere instruction, however learned and valuable it was in 
itself. 'It was as though the man ', says Jirji Zaidan, referring 
to the literary revival which was occasioned by Jamal's 
teaching, 'had breathed into them his own spirit; and they 
opened their eyes, and behold, they had been in darkness and 
the light had come to them. So they caught from him, in 
addition to learning and philosophy, a living spirit that 
caused them to see their state as it really was, inasmuch as 
the veil of false ideas had been rent from their minds. They 
therefore roused themselves to activity in writing, and put 
forth articles on literary, philosophical and religious subjects.' 1 

The time in which Jamal's activity in Egypt fell was 
favourable, indeed, for such attempts as he was making to 
arouse the young men of Egypt. The Khedive Isma'il had 
been introducing European ideas into the country more 
rapidly than they could be assimilated. But his efforts led to 
the superficial result that many of the educated people antici- 
pated that the country was about to enter upon a glorious 
era of national advancement, and felt that they themselves 
were fully prepared to take their proper part in it. On the 
other hand, the extravagances of Isma*il were inevitably 
leading to that foreign intervention against which Jamal was 

1 Mashahlr,!. 281. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 37 

warning the country, and the shadows of the coming day of 
reckoning were already casting themselves before, although 
that day itself did not arrive until after Jamal had been 
banished from Egypt. 

Something of this spirit of anticipation is evident in an 
article written by Muhammad 'Abduh, which is one of five 
articles preserved in the Biography by Muhammad Rashid 
Bida, of those which he contributed to the newspapers during 
this period, all of which show, as Professor M. Horten re- 
marks, 1 'the high fervour of youth \ The article in question 
was contributed to Al-Ahram ("The Pyramids'), at present 
the oldest of the daily newspapers of Cairo, at that time a 
weekly, under date of September 3, 1876, and is in the nature 
of an address of welcome to this newspaper which had just 
been founded. 2 The young Azhar shaikh (for Muhammad 
'Abduh was still a student in the Azhar) recalls in his article 
that Egypt was, in past ages, one of the greatest of the king- 
doms of the earth, that its civilization had attained its full 
growth when that of other nations was in its infancy, that 
from Egypt civilization had removed to the nations of the 
West, where after many vicissitudes, it had attained its 
highest development. And now the wheel of time has come 
full circle, and civilization has returned to the place of its 
birth, and has been joyously welcomed and honoured by 
Egypt, and in return is devoting itself to her service. Even 
greater attainments can be expected in this present day than 
in the days of the pyramids of old. And of this new civiliza- 
tion Al-Ahram ('The Pyramids') will be the handmaid. 

The other four articles, all written during the year 1876, 
bear likewise the impress of the stirring times in which they 
were written, and show also the influence of Jamal's teaching. 

The second article discusses the essential and necessary part 
which the art of writing has played in the cultural development 
of mankind, and concludes with an application to the value of 

1 Beitrdge, xiii (1916), 88. 

2 This article appeared in the fifth issue, cf. Tdrikh, ii. 36. The other 
articles follow, pp. 39-67. Cf. Michel, p. xxvii; Beitrdge, xiii. 88, 89, for 
comment on these articles. For an account of the founding of Al-Ahram 
and biography of its founder and editor, Sallm Bey Takla, vide Mashdhlr, ii. 

38 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

newspapers in the direction and regulation of both the religious 
and political affairs of a nation. The third article is on 'Human 
and Spiritual Leaders '. By the human leader is meant the physical 
powers and senses of man, which are concerned with his physical 
welfare, and by the spiritual, his intellectual powers which are 
responsible for the solving of dark problems and the acquisition 
of worthy capabilities. Men may, accordingly, be divided into two 
classes, those who care only for earthly and animal-like things, 
and those who rise to the state of man-like reason. The more one's 
instinct is elevated towards the human, the more does he incline 
towards a reasonable course of life, towards justice and the con- 
quest of ignorance, and insistence upon proof. Thus far the article 
has had an ethical and philosophical tinge. But the application 
is seen in the conclusion. There are some to whom the virtues of 
reason are only a name, who accept belief on authority and forbid 
the teaching of philosophy. There are some who are rejoicing in 
the present evil state of the country and the prospect of domina- 
tion of the country by foreigners. * This is only to fall into the pit 
of animalism, and to drop below the level of humanity.' Instead, 
all should unite against the common enemy, forgetting all dif- 
ferences of sects. The case of the Egyptians is like that of two 
brothers who frequently quarrel, the one with the other, but, 
when an outsider interferes, forget their quarrels and unite against 
the intruder. 

The fourth article is on ' Speculative Theology and the Demand 
for the Contemporary Sciences'. The case of an Azhar student is 
cited (the story bears not a little resemblance to his own), who 
studied certain works on logic and dogmatic theology. Although 
the logical sciences are intended to be an aid to speculative theo- 
logy, yet the friends of this young student, in great perturbation, 
warned him against such studies and advised and threatened, and 
caused his father to come in haste to Cairo to save him ; and the 
father would only be satisfied after the student had sworn on the 
liCur'an that his faith was still intact and he would not further 
study these dangerous subjects. Yet these sciences are taught in 
Muslim universities, east and west, and the greatest of Muslim 
scholars, Al-Ghazzali and others, have made their study an indi- 
vidual duty {far$ f ain), while all the 'Ulama agree that it is a 
general duty (far# kifdyah). Such study is needed, especially in 
these days, for the defence of religion. If this be our attitude 
towards sciences that have been nourished in the bosom of Islam 
for more than a thousand years, what, pray, is our state with 

Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 39 

reference to the useful modern sciences that are among the necessi- 
ties of our life in these days ? How much more do we put our 
fingers into our ears, if they are even mentioned. If this were an 
age of barbarous rulers, or there were no intercourse with civilized 
countries, there might be excuse for such an attitude. But all this 
is in a day when learning is general, and intercourse with other 
countries is common, and when the Khedive (Isma'Il) is doing 
more for the increase of education and the general welfare than 
the ruler of any other country. 

The 'Ulama, who are 'the spirit of this nation ', have, up to the 
present, seen no benefit in these modern sciences, but continue to 
busy themselves with what was perhaps more suitable for a time 
long past whose records are closed. They pay no attention to the 
fact that we are in a new world. ' The days have cast us, with our 
religion and our honour, into a desert filled with ravening lions, 
each one seeking his prey. If we are one of the lions, we can pro- 
tect ourselves and our religion, otherwise we must either cast aside 
our religion and escape with our lives, or perish because of igno- 
rance and the error of our way.' We must study the affairs of 
neighbouring religions and states to learn the reason for their 
advancement. And when we have learned it, we must hasten 
towards it, that we may overtake what is past and prepare for 
what is coming. 'We see no reason for their progress to wealth 
and power except the advancement of education and the sciences 
among them. Our first duty, then, is to endeavour with all our 
might and main to spread these sciences in our country.' 

A similar modern note is struck in the last article of the series. 
The article begins by pointing out that, in spite of the great wealth 
of vocabulary of the Arabic language, and the fact that at one 
time it was the language in which great works in the physical 
sciences, theology, mathematics, medicine, and all the other arts 
and sciences were written, yet it has fallen into decline, and other 
nations have surpassed the Arabic -speaking nations in the sciences, 
in education, and material civilization. But more recently some 
modern scientific works have been translated into Arabic. But 
there has been a lack of any work on the political sciences or the 
history of the progress of civilization. This lack has been now 
supplied in the appearance of an Arabic translation of Guizot's 
History of Civilization. The article closes with the quotation of 
comment by Jamal al-Dln on the book just translated. The 
present state of European civilization, he says, is the result of 
preparatory measures wisely taken with a view to producing these 

40 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

results. Every one should study these measures in order to make 
use of them in raising up his own country. This book has gathered 
together all the conditions and causes and means that had any 
part in producing the present civilization of Europe. 

The opinions of Muhammad 'Abduh, as expressed in these 
articles, have been given at some length because they reveal 
the influences which were at work in moulding his thought 
and were eventually to cause him to be known as the leading 
modernist of the Azhar circle. They show us, too, how early, 
while yet a student in the Azhar, he is taking up, under the 
tuition of Jamal al-Din, the role of public reform, and how far 
he has travelled in thought since those days, only a few years 
previously, when he was buried in mystic visions and abstrac- 
tions and thought of the outside world with a profound 

This advance in thought is evident also in the two serious 
works which he published during this period. The first has 
already been referred to, Al-wdriddt, which appeared in 1874. 
It is a work, says Professor Horten, which shows 'fine ardour 
and philosophic endowment 5 . 1 The influence of his Azhar 
studies, and particularly of his studies and experiences in 
mysticism, is traceable, and also that of the teaching of 
Jamal, more especially in the philosophic trend and his earnest 
desire to be free from the shackles of tradition. He speaks of 
himself in the introduction as ' one who has turned away from 
such subjects as dogmatics and dialectic, and has freed him- 
self from the chains of adherence to sects, to be at liberty to 
pursue the chase of knowledge \ 2 His thought in this work is 
Sufistic and pantheistic. He maintains, as is commonly done 
by Sufi philosophers, that the only real existence is that of 
God. Thus he says : ' But we say, there is no existence except 
his existence, and no attribute except his attributes. He is 
then the Existent One and other than he is non-existent.' 3 
'In certain points, e.g. in regard to the attributes of God,' 
says Horten, 'he is later less youthfully and enthusiastically 
cock-sure and certain, rather more cautious and almost 
sceptical.' In this spirit of enthusiastic certainty, he joins 
issue with the philosophers and with Al-Ash'ari regarding 

1 Beitrdge, xiii. 85, 86. a Tarlkh, ii. 9. * Ibid., p. 13. 

Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 41 

the character of the Knowledge of God, of His Comprehension 
and His Will. He treats also of God's creation of the world, of 
Mankind and Prophecy, of Immortality. 

His second work, published in 1876, is of a decidedly dif- 
ferent character. 1 It is a collection of glosses on the com- 
mentary of Al-Jalal al-Dawanl on Al-*aka > id al- Adudiyyah. 
This latter work is a brief theological treatise in explanation 
of the articles of the faith, by 'Adud al-Dln al-ljl (d. 1355), 
one of the later theologians of the Ash'arite school. It treats 
of the differences which separate the various schools of theo- 
logical thought, points out the differences which lie only in 
manner of statement and those which are matters of essentials, 
and attempts to mediate a reasonable statement acceptable 
to all. For his time he was a rationalist. The moderation of 
his brief statement has made it acceptable as a catechism for 
a long time. 

'This was the subject chosen by Shaikh 'Abduh who, two 
years earlier, had been plunged into pure mysticism ; and if 
this choice is characteristic of the change which had come 
over him, the ideas which he expressed in this work are still 
more so. Starting from a well-known tradition (which Western 
criticism considers, however, apocryphal), according to which 
the Prophet is reputed to have said: "My people will be 
divided into seventy-three sects, and the adherents of all 
these seventy- three sects will enter hell except one', the 
author deduces from this that the Muslims of the different 
rites should practise the greatest tolerance towards one 
another ; for no one can say with certainty that he belongs 
to the sect which is to be saved. He further draws from it 
another conclusion of the greatest significance, namely, that 

1 The date is on the authority of Michel, p. xxv. In a list of the works 
written by Muhammad 'Abduh, given in Al-Manar, viii. 492, this work 
appears fourth in an order that is ' approximately ' that of their composition, 
following Falsafat al-ijtimd* wa al-tartkh ('Philosophy of Society and 
History'), which embodied his lectures on Ibn Khaldun in Dar al-'Ulum, 
1878. A difference of two or three years in the date of writing would not im- 
pair, however, the contrast with the earlier work. It is rather heightened 
by the fact that the second work in the list of Al-Manar is entitled 
Risalahfi wahdat al wujud ('Treatise on the Unity of Existence') which 
deals, according to Al-Manar, with 'the orders of existence, their variety 
from one point of view, and their general organization, and their unity from 
another point of view'. The general point of view is that of Al-waridat. 

42 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

reason is the only guide which will lead us to the true 
faith.' 1 

Meanwhile, during these years that have been adding to 
Muhammad 'Abduh's store of learning, and widening his 
vision and his interests in the directions indicated, he con- 
tinued his connexion with the Azhar and carried on his studies 
there. It would seem that, for the most part, his study con- 
sisted in searching in the books of the library of the university, 
independently of the lectures ; for a great deal of antagonism 
was aroused among the teachers of the university against 
Muhammad 'Abduh and Jamal al-Dln. This was partly due, 
of course, to their conservative dislike for the teaching of 
philosophy which Jamal was reviving, and to his modernizing 
attitude in general. 2 But there would seem to have been a 
considerable amount of jealousy also, because Muhammad 
'Abduh and others of the students had been attending the 
lectures of Jamal, possibly to the neglect of their own. Mu- 
hammad 'Abduh was not content, moreover, to keep to 
himself the benefits of the new methods of study which he 
had received from Jamal, but tried to spread the spirit of 
reform among the students who sought help from him in 
their studies. He read with them a number of advanced texts 
in theology , which were not being taught in the Azhar. One such 
text was the commentary of Al-Taftazam (d. a.d. 1389) on 
Al-'akd' id al-Nasafiyydh ('The Creed of Al-Nasafi', d. a.d. 
1 142), a creed which has points of contact withMu'tazilite doc- 
trines. Word was carried by some of the students to Shaikh 
'Ulaish, the leader of the strict conservative party, that Mu- 
hammad 'Abduh was reviving the teaching of the Mu'tazilites. 
The shaikh called him to account, but the offence which par- 
ticularly aroused him was, that a student should presume to 
teach a difficult work which none of the Azhar shaikhs cared 
to undertake to teach. The answer of Muhammad 'Abduh, 
when the shaikh inquired if he had given up Ash'arite teach- 
ing to follow the Mu'tazilite, was not calculated to win him 
favour with the conservative old shaikh. 'If I give up blind 
acceptance of Ash'arite doctrine, why should I take up blind 
acceptance of the Mu'tazilite? Therefore I am giving up 

1 Risdlah, p. xxv. 2 Cf. above, p. 7, note 1. 

Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 43 

blind acceptance of both, and judge according to the proof 
presented.' 1 

This incident, which caused some little commotion in the 
Azhar at the time, was the beginning of many spiteful accusa- 
tions and derogatory attacks which were continually being 
directed against Jamal and Muhammad 'Abduh. The feeling 
aroused almost resulted, in the end, in the latter's failure to 
receive the licence to teach, which is the equivalent of the 
degree of the university granted to students who success- 
fully pass the examinations. For when he came before the 
examiners in the latter part of May, 1877, he found the 
majority of the examiners already prejudiced against him 
and determined to refuse to allow him a passing grade in his 
examinations. But he did such exceptional work in the 
examinations, that when Shaikh Muhammad Al-'Abbasi, the 
liberal rector of the university, intervened on his behalf, the 
examiners could not well refuse to allow him to pass, and 
compromised by giving him a passing grade of the second 
class, instead of the special grade, above first class, which the 
rector felt that he deserved. 2 

When Muhammad 'Abduh received his degree as "alim', 
he passed out of the Azhar as a student, but returned almost 
immediately as a teacher. With this, his student days came 
formally to an end. But in reality he continued to be a 
student to the end of his days. ' I am still a student ', he said 
in his last days, 'desiring some increase of knowledge each 
day.' 3 In this spirit he entered upon the work of teaching for 
which all his studies had been preparing him. 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 391. 2 Ibid., viii. 393. 3 Ibid, 


1877-88: Beginnings of Public Life. 

Teacher and Journalist: 1877-82. 

I WAS not created to be anything but a teacher', said 
Muhammad 'Abduh of himself some years later than this 
period, when he was being importuned to accept another 
position than that of his chosen profession. And, in truth, 
the manner in which he, in his later public life, turned e very- 
position of influence which he ever held into a channel for the 
dissemination of his ideas and the education of the public, 
shows how deep-seated within him was the inclination to 
instruct and educate, and justifies his belief that he was born 
to such a career. Moreover, the training which he had re- 
ceived from Jamal al-Dln and the desire to render service to 
his religion and his country which had been strongly awakened 
within him, provided an additional motive for an immediate 
entrance upon the work of training others after his own period 
of study had been completed. He accordingly entered with 
enthusiasm upon the work of teaching, after having received 
his licence from the Azhar. 

He gave lectures in the Azhar on a wide range of subjects, 
applying in the teaching of theological subjects the same 
methods of reasoning and logical proof which Jamal al-Dln 
had taught him to use. 1 He also gave lectures in his own 
house to numbers of the Azhar students who came to him. 
One course of lectures was based upon Tahdhib al-akhldk 
('Character Training') by Ibn Maskawaih (d. a.d. 1030), a 
work on ethics which is highly valued in the East to this day. 
He employed, as a basis for his lectures on political science, 
Guizot's History of Civilization in Europe and in France, 
which, as stated above, had only recently been translated 
into Arabic. 

Towards the close of the year 1878, Muhammad 'Abduh 
was appointed by the influence of Riad Pasha, then Prime 

1 Al-Mandr, viii. 404. 

Muhammad "Abduh: Biography 45 

Minister, teacher of history in the school called ' Dar al- 'Ulurn \ 
This school had been founded at the instance of 'All Pasha 
Mubarak, then Minister of Education under the Khedive 
Isma/il, in the year a.h. 1290 (a.d. 1873). 1 It represented an 
attempt on the part of those who despaired of reforming the 
Azhar, to train the *Ulama in a more practical modern way 
by teaching some modern sciences in addition to the sciences 
taught in the Azhar. Muhammad *Abduh at once began a 
course of lectures on the Prolegomena of Ibn Khaldun, the 
great philosophical historian (d. a.d. 1406). Not only was 
the teaching of this work a new departure in Egypt, but the 
method of teaching it was also unheard of hitherto. The 
young professor took the ideas of the great historian on the 
causes of the rise and fall of nations, the principles of civiliza- 
tion and the organization of human society, and made them 
a point of departure for adding ideas of his own on political 
and social affairs, drawn from modern works, and applied 
the whole in a practical manner to the case of his own country. 2 
At the same time he was appointed teacher of the Arabic 
Language and Literature in the Khedivial School of Languages, 
and held this position while continuing to teach in the Azhar 
and Dar al-*Ulum. He made it his special endeavour in his 
teaching of the Arabic sciences, to revise the methods of 
teaching then commonly in use, which, as before noted, he 
felt were greatly at fault. In all of his teaching, in fact, he 
did not lose sight of the motive of reform. His general pur- 
pose was 'to bring into being a new generation among the 
people of Egypt, which will revive the Arabic language and 
the Islamic sciences, and will correct the deviations of the 
Egyptian Government \ 3 This reference to the Egyptian 
Government recalls the spirit of profound discontent which 
at that time was spreading among the educated classes, as 

1 Tarikh, iii. 242. The date given by Michel, Introd., p. xxviii, is 1872, by 
Horten, Beitrage, viii. 106, is 1871, and by K. Vollers, Enc. Islam, art. * 'All 
Pasha Mubarak', is 1870, apparently. The purpose of the school was to 
train I£adls for the Mahkamah Shar 'iyyah (Courts of Personal Statute) and 
teachers for the secondary schools. It was found advisable to found a 
separate School for l£adis (1907), consequently the Dar al-'Ulum was con- 
tinued as a training school for teachers. Vide also biographical account of 
*Ali Pasha Mubarak in Mashdhir, ii. 34-9. 

8 Al-Manar t viii. 403, 404 ; Tdrilch, iii. 240. 3 AUManar, viii. 404. 

46 Muhammad "Abduh: Biography 

they saw the government passing helplessly under the con- 
trol of foreigners through the attempts which were made to 
reorganize the financial system of the country. It is signi- 
ficant that Muhammad ( Abduh was then proposing education 
as a means to a better state of things in the future . His empha- 
sis, on the one hand, upon character development, and on the 
other, upon training in principles of government in his own 
classes, shows that, practically, he was setting about the task. 

But his teaching career was soon interrupted. On June 25, 
1879, the Khedive Isma/Il abdicated in favour of his son 
Tawfik Pasha. The latter soon disappointed the hopes of a 
liberal policy of reform which his attitude and promises before 
his accession had encouraged, by expelling the Sayyid Jamal 
al-Din from the country, 1 and by removing Muhammad 
f Abduh from the Dar al-'Ulum and the Khedivial School of 
Languages, and ordering him to go into retirement in his 
native village, Mahallat Nasr, and not leave it. This was in 
September, 1879. Muhammad 'Abduh's well-known con- 
nexion with Jamal, and his own advanced ideas on religion 
and politics as he had made them known in his teaching and 
his newspaper contributions, would &eem to have been the 
reasons which led to this action against him. 2 

The former liberal Prime Minister, Riad Pasha, was not 
in the country at the moment when this action was taken. 
When he returned later, 3 he appointed Muhammad 'Abduh, 
in September 1880, one of three editors of Al-Wakd'i* al- 
Misriyyah ('The Egyptian Events'), which was the official 
organ (Journal Officiel) of the Government. A short time 
later he was made editor-in-chief, and was permitted to 
associate with himself in the editorial work a number of 
writers who, like himself, had been trained in writing by 
Jamal al-Din, and had also attended his own lectures and 
were in sympathy with his aims. These assistant editors 
were Shaikh 'Abd al-Karim Salman, a life -long friend and 
supporter ; Shaikh Sa'ad Zaghlul, then a student in the Azhar, 

1 For possible explanations of this action, cf. above, p. 7, n. 2. 

8 Al-Manar, viii. 405. The reference of Tankh, iii. 82, to suspicions and 
accusations against Muhammad 'Abduh and his associates, 'champions of 
the intellectual awakening', suggests Azhar machinations. 

8 Tarilch, iii. 161, 169. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 47 

about twenty-one years of age, later to become the national 
leader and spokesman of the Egyptian movement for political 
independence ; and Shaikh Sayyid Waf a. 1 

Al-Wakd y i* al-Misriyyah was, at the time of 'Abduh's 
appointment as editor-in-chief, 'an affair of official notices 
together with some departmental announcements and ac- 
counts of local events'. 2 The new editor took immediate 
steps for its improvement and the enlargement of the scope 
of its influence. He outlined a definite regime for the Depart- 
ment of Publications, which was responsible, among other 
publications, for the Journal Officiel, and this regime was 
approved and made effective by Riad. One of the require- 
ments thus put into effect was that all offices and depart- 
ments of the Government, including the courts, were to 
present for publication in the Journal Officiel, reports giving 
an account of all actions and decisions already concluded, all 
projects then in hand, and those proposed for future action. 3 
The editor-in-chief had the right of criticism of anything in 
these reports which, in his judgement, deserved criticism, 
not only in the form in which they were presented but also 
in all the actions and decisions of the different departments. 
Such publicity and criticism created a degree of wholesome 
concern in the hearts of officials, inasmuch as the editor-in- 
chief was, in reality, speaking as the mouth-piece of the 
Government, and led to gradual improvement in the work of 
all departments. So insistent was the editor upon higher 
literary standards in official reports that those responsible 
for writing them were obliged, many of them, to attend night 
schools which were opened for the purpose of training writers 
and journalists, in which Muhammad *Abduh himself volun- 
teered to give instruction. 

As chief of the Department of Publications, the editor-in- 
chief of the Journal Officiel also had the right of censorship of 
all newspapers, whether under foreign or Egyptian control, 
which were published in the country. Charges brought 

1 Al-Mandr, viii. 406. Others who were associated with Jamal and 
Muhammad 'Abduh during the days of Iama'Il Pasha were Ibrahim Bey 
al-Lakani, Hifni Bey Nasif , Muhammad Bey Salih, Sultan Effendi Muham- 
mad, and others, p. 404. * 

3 Tarikh, in. 82. 3 Al-Manar, viii. 406-9; Tdrzkh, Hi. 240, 241. 

48 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

against government officials by any newspaper must be 
investigated by the Government ; if disproven, the newspaper 
was subject to warning, and, under repeated offences, to 
temporary or even permanent suppression. 1 Higher literary 
standards in the Arabic newspapers were likewise insisted 
upon: one prominent newspaper was warned that, within a 
specified date, it must provide a more competent editorial 
staff or be suppressed. Thus ' Abduh turned his power to good 
account in promoting a literary revival in Egypt. 

From the beginning he directed attention to the state of 
education in the country and published frequent criticisms 
of the schools, teachers, methods of instruction, and general 
conduct of the educational programme, which reflected upon 
the efficiency of the Department of Education. As a result, 
a Superior Council to the Department of Education was 
created on March 31, 1881, with executive powers, and 
* Abduh was made a member of this council. He was also 
made a member of a sub -committee of this body which was 
appointed to study the matter of the improvement of the 
educational programme in all schools, and was the Arabic 
secretary to the sessions of the committee. 2 The Department 
of Wakfs (Religious Foundations and Endowments) likewise 
profited by his advice and suggestion, as did other depart- 
ments of the Government also. 

Not content, however, with restricting the influence of the 
Journal Officiel to the narrow sphere of governmental circles, 
important as was its influence there, Muhammad 'Abduh 
secured a still wider hearing for his views and a wider field 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 407. 

2 Among the actions favoured by the Superior Council was one proposed 
by Muhammad 'Abduh, by which the Government would make a grant in 
gift of a considerable sum of money to the schools in Egypt under foreign 
control, in recognition of their services to education. It was naturally 
expected that such schools would be pleased with such recognition and 
accept the gift. But a supplementary action was also taken, placing all 
such schools under government inspection, on the ground that they had 
received a subsidy from the Government. The justification for the action 
was, first, the desirability of government control of all instruction in the 
schools of the country, and second, the fact that all European governments 
maintain such oversight of the schools to which they grant subsidies. But 
the proposals were prevented from being put into effect by the 'Arab! 
Rebellion. Al-Manar, viii. 410. 

Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 49 

for his reforming activities, by creating a literary department 
in the Journal in which he and his collaborators could express 
their opinions on subjects that were engaging, or should 
engage, public interest. The importance of such a means of 
moulding public opinion was enhanced by the fact that at 
that time there were few newspapers in Egypt. The thirty- 
six articles which Muhammad Rashid Rida, has preserved in 
his Biography as illustrative of 'Abduh's contributions to 
Al-Waka'V al-Misriyyah, 1 deal with many phases of national 
life and show the writer's deep concern that the progress of the 
nation, at a time when there was much talk of advancement 
and much imitation of European ways, should be built upon 
real and enduring values. Reference has already been made 
to his criticisms of the Government's conduct of its schools. 
But he has more than criticism to offer; he returns to the 
problem of education again and again. In his opinion the 
problem of raising the whole nation to a higher level of culture 
and education is not the simple matter that some people who 
think themselves educated conceive. It is not simply a matter 
of acquiring a smattering of European sciences or of imitating 
Europeans in their manner of life, for, in the majority of 
instances where such views of education have been held, the 
result has been the imitation of Europeans in their customs, 
buildings, dress, furniture, and expensive luxuries ; and this 
has led to the creation of a spirit which ignores the straight 
path of true glory and personal honour. But the uplift of the 
nation can only be accomplished by following the path for 
the uplift of individuals. Customs must be changed gradu- 
ally, beginning with the simplest changes. The reform of the 
character, ideas and actions of the people is the most impor- 
tant duty of the nation. Without this no reform is possible. 
But this is a long process which requires time, the first step 
of which is the improvement of education. 2 

He discusses also the influence of the teaching which a child 
receives upon its religious beliefs, and cautions parents against 

1 Tdrikh, ii. 68-228. Thirty -seven articles are given, but one, a brief 
article on 'A Word on Polities', not from the pen of Muhammad 'Abduh, 
was included by mistake, pp. 223-5. For resume^ of these articles, cf . Michel, 
pp. xxx-xxxii, and Beitrdge, xiii. 89-91. 

8 Article on 'The Error of the Intellectuals', Tarikh, ii. 131-43. 

50 Muhammad 'Abduh; Biography 

sending their children to schools conducted by other faiths 
or other religious bodies than their own, unless they are pre- 
pared to see their children, when they grow up to years of 
discretion, change their faith and accept that of their teachers. 
For it is inevitable that religious teaching in the impression- 
able years of childhood should influence the child's thinking 
and character. The parents can therefore blame only them- 
selves if such change of faith results in the case of their 
children. 1 Another article discusses * Learning and its in- 
fluence upon the will and the power of choice*, 2 another 
'Practice and Custom', 3 another ' Civilization ', returning to 
the idea, held by some, especially the wealthy, that to be 
civilized means to spend money uselessly. 4 

Another type of article deals with customs and practices 
of the nation which demand reform. Bribery is condemned 
and the common acceptance of it as a means of securing 
justice or government action in the most trifling cases is 
deplored. 5 Marriage is discussed as a necessary institution, 
the injustices caused by polygamy and its deteriorating 
influence upon family life are acknowledged, but the practical 
intent of the Islamic Law (Shari'ah), by its insistence upon 
justice being done to each wife, is shown to be in favour 
of monogamy. 6 Other articles advocate the abandonment of 
religious practices that are harmful or contrary to the spirit 
of true worship. 7 The tendency to spend money foolishly and 
extravagantly is deplored in other articles; the 'golden mean' 
between poverty and extravagance is unknown. True poverty 
is lack of education and inability to use material advantages 
wisely. 8 

A third group of articles deals with the political life of the 
nation. Reverence for the laws of the country is one of the 
essentials for its prosperity; but these laws should differ 

1 'Influence of teaching on religion and religious beliefs', Tdrikh, ii. 
173 sqq. 2 Ibid., pp. 184-200. 3 Ibid., p. 218. 4 Ibid., p. 225. 

6 ' Reprehensibility of Bribery', two articles, pp. 99 sqq. 

6 'Marriage a necessity to man', pp. 122 sqq.; 'The regulations of the 
Shari'ah regarding polygamy', pp. 125 sqq. 

7 ' Abolishment of Innovations by the Department of Wakf s \ Tarlkh, ii. 
144 sqq. ; 'Abolishment of the Doseh', two articles, pp. 147 sqq. 

8 e.g. 'Love of poverty or the foolishness of prosperity', three articles, 
pp. 74 sqq. ; 'What is true poverty ?', pp. 153 sqq. 

Muhammad "Abduh: Biography 51 

according to the circumstances of the people and should be 
applicable to existing conditions, and known and understood 
by the people ; representative government and legislation by 
representatives chosen by the people are entirely in harmony 
with the spirit and practice of Islam from the beginning, it is 
even the duty of the nation to aid its ruler by counsel through 
its chosen representatives, but the method of realizing such 
representative government has not been defined by the 
Islamic Law (SharVah) but is to be determined according to 
that which will best promote the ends of justice and the 
common advantage. 1 It is the duty of every man to love and 
protect his own country. 2 

It is a unique spectacle which is presented in the figure of 
the editor-in-chief of the official organ of the Government, as 
Muhammad Rashid Rida suggests, 3 that of an Azhar shaikh, 
' wearer of an Azhar turban ', sitting as a member of an auto- 
cratic government whose ways are far removed from ways 
of scholars and men of religion, reviewing and criticizing the 
acts of officials and directing their efforts towards reform, 
teaching the newspapers of the country new standards of 
.truthfulness and literary excellence, and seeking to reform 
the morals and customs of the nation. 

But events were conspiring against him to put an end to 
his work as they had previously ended his teaching activity. 
His connexion with the Journal Officiel ceased in May, 1882, 
having continued for eighteen months. 4 By that time the 
movement which has since been associated with the name of 
Ahmad 'Arab! Pasha was well under way and 'Arab! Pasha 
was at the height of his power. Beginning as a protest of 
the Egyptian officers of the Egyptian army against prefer- 
ence shown to Turkish -Circassian officers, 5 the movement 

1 'Reverence for the laws and regulations of the government necessary 
for the happiness of the nation', pp. 71 sqq. ; 'Laws differ according to cir- 
cumstances', pp. 167 sqq.; 'National representation and tyranny', pp. 203 
sqq., and two other articles on representative government, pp. 210, 213. 

2 'Political life', pp. 200 sqq. 

3 Al-Mandr t viii. 407, 408. * Michel, p. xxx. 

5 In January, 1881, the three colonels, 'Arabi, 'All Fahmi, and 'Abd al- 
'Al presented their protest to ' Othman Pasha Rifki, Minister of War, and 
when an attempt was made to arrest them, the troops made a demonstra- 
tion on February 1, 1881, and forcibly rescued them. 

52 Muhammad * Abduh: Biography 

expanded into a revolt against the privileged position and 
dominant influence of foreigners in Egypt. 'Arabi, promoted 
first as colonel in the army, then made Under-Secretary for 
War, and finally, on February 4, 1882, Minister for War in 
the Ministry of Mahmud Sami Pasha, became the popular 
hero, and the army became the exponent of national aspira- 
tions. When the Ministry resigned on May 26, it was deemed 
advisable to reappoint 'Arab! Pasha, Minister for War. 
But events developed unfortunately for dreams of national 
independence. The riots of June 11 in Alexandria were 
followed by the bombardment of the forts of the harbour by 
the British fleet on July 1 1 ; and with the rout of the Egyp- 
tian troops at Tel el-Kebir on September 13 by British 
forces, and the capture of 'Arab! Pasha two days later, the 
Nationalist movement utterly collapsed. The trial and 
condemnation of the leaders soon followed. 'ArabI Pasha 
was sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to 
exile to Ceylon. 1 

Thus the period of Muhammad 'Abduh's inoumbency as 
editor-in-chief of Al-Waka'i* al-Misriyyah coincided to a 
large extent with the duration of the 'Arabl movement* 
With his position of leadership of the progressive forces of the 
nation, and his advocacy of representative institutions as not 
only permissible for a Muslim country like Egypt but also as 
the ideal to be striven for, and his convictions of the evils of 
foreign intervention, 2 it was inevitable that he should take 
some part in a movement which was, as Lord Cromer 
characterizes it, 'in some degree unquestionably national'. 3 

1 'Arabi Pasha's own version of his part in events, together with a brief 
autobiography is found in Mashdhir, i. 211-32. It contributes little, how- 
ever, to an understanding of the aims of the movement as a whole. 'Arab! 
Pasha was permitted to return to Egypt in 1901, and resided at IJalwan, 
near Cairo, until his death in 1911. 

2 Al-Mandr, viii. 412, 415, points out that Muhammad 'Abduh was the 
first one in Egypt, after Jamal al-Din, to advocate a national assembly and 
constitutional limitation of the powers of the ruler, but this with certain 
restrictions, to be referred to later, which separated him in principle from the 
extremists. It is also pointed out, ibid., viii. 412, that both Jamal and 
Muhammad 'Abduh feared foreign intervention from the days of Isma'fl 
and repeatedly gave warnings of the danger, both in addresses and in 

3 Modern Egypt, i. 255. 

Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 53 

He was in fact, to refer again to Lord Cromer's opinion, ' one 
of the leading spirits ' of the movement. 1 

In the earlier stages of the movement, before the military 
leaders had appealed definitely to force to obtain their ends, 
he seems to have thought that 'the time had come for a 
beginning in putting into operation his far-reaching schemes 
of reform', 2 and that the movement could be made 'a step in 
freeing the country from bondage to foreigners'. 3 Moreover, 
the leaders at that time ' seemed to him to be free from per- 
sonal aims' 4 and were 'following the course of reform and 
demanding justice and equality '. 5 So he threw himself whole- 
heartedly into the attempt to give direction to the movement 
and was never sparing in advice to the leaders, even though 
they were not willing to receive it. He made full use of the 
opportunity accorded to him as editor of the Journal Officiel 
and as censor and general director of the Press of Egypt, to 
create a united public opinion and to promote the sounder 
purposes which he hoped would be accomplished. 6 The party 
leaders in the circle about 'Arab! Pasha, on their part, looked 
to Muhammad 'Abduh as 'their teacher and the leader of 
their thoughts, all of them taking in his presence the oath of 
obedience to their country and its welfare, so much so that 
he was accounted among the leaders of that revolution, along 
with *Abd Allah Nadim and the other well-known leaders \ 7 
Public opinion in Egypt at the time of Muhammad 'Abduh's 
death, as reflected in the statements of the Press of the day 
just quoted, was thus a unit in ascribing to him a place of 
unique influence in connexion with the revolution. This idea 

1 Ibid. ii. 179. 

2 Tdrikh, iii- 156; quotations from newspapers at time of 'Abduh's 
death. 3 Ibid., p. 82. 4 Ibid., p. 156. 6 Ibid., p. 53. 

6 W. S. Blunt in his Secret History of Egypt (New York, 1922), p. 117, 
says that after ( Arabi's demonstration had succeeded in securing the dis- 
missal of Riad Pasha and the granting of a parliament, and the appointment 
of Cherif Pasha as Prime Minister, 'the Press, under the enlightened censor- 
ship of Shaikh Muhammed 'Abduh, freed more than ever from its old 
channels, spread the news rapidly'. Again, on p. 137, he refers to the modera- 
tion of the Press under Muhammad 'Abduh's censorship. 

7 Tdrikh, iii. 53. On the attitude of the party leaders, cf. a letter from 
Muhammad 'Abduh to Jamal from Bairut, Tdrikh, ii. 528 : 'In the beginning 
of the matter they were the most zealous of all the people towards you and 
your disciples.* 

54 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

may 6c summed up in the statement of more than one news- 
paper that it was said 'that the followers of c Arabi never 
made any plans without seeking his advice \ 1 

But while a general position of leadership and influence in 
the movement was undoubtedly held by Muhammad c Abduh, 
it must be further pointed out in justice to him, as Muham- 
mad Rashid Rida insists repeatedly and with emphasis, that 
his views differed in many essential points from those of the 
military leaders, and, as the movement progressed, diverged 
more and more sharply from theirs, so that he was compelled 
to criticize many of their actions in his writings and addresses 
and in conference with them. 2 He did not approve of their 
methods, especially of their resort to force, nor did he share 
the optimism with which they regarded the outcome of their 
course of action. 3 His own position is succinctly stated in the 
words of Muhammad Rashid Rida: 'He was the opponent 
of the military revolution even though he was a directing 
spirit to the intellectual movement.' 4 And at greater length: 
'He hated the revolution and was opposed to its leaders, he 
himself being one of them, because he knew that it would 
overthrow the work he had begun and every reform the 
government was accomplishing or had in view, and that it 
would prepare the way for foreign intervention.' 5 His out- 
spoken criticism of the military party won from them at times 
threats of violence if he did not refrain from opposition and 
cast in his lot wholly with them. 6 

1 Tarikh, iii. 10, 120. W. S. Blunt (op. cit., p. 132) refers to a programmeof 
the Nationalist party, setting forth its objectives and plans, which was drawn 
up by Muhammad 'Abduh himself and others, was approved by Mahmiid 
Sami Pasha and 'Arab! Pasha, and sent by Mr. Blunt to Mr. Gladstone. 

2 Al-Manar, viii. 413. Cf. also Mashahlr, ii. 281 ; Tarikh, iii. 120, 169. 

3 Cf. Michel, p. xxxiii. W. S. Blunt (op.cit., p. 124) states that 'Muham- 
mad ' Abduh (and those of his opinion) . . . had disapproved of the immixture 
of the army in political affairs in September, and although rejoicing at the 
result, were still to a certain extent holding aloof. 

4 Al-Manar, viii. 467. 

6 Ibid., p. 412. Cf . also W. S. Blunt's statement : ' I knew also that Shaikh 
Muhammad 'Abduh and the rest of my Azhar friends were for other 
methods than that of violence, and that the reforms they had been so long 
preaching would, in their opinion, take a lifetime to achieve.' Op. cit., 
p. 120. 

6 It is related, Al-Manar, viii. 413, that 'Arabi once sent two of his officers 
to threaten Muhammed 'Abduh. Of the same tenor is a remark, quoted 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 55 

This divergence of view is evident in the account of a 
discussion which Muhammad 'Abduh had with 'Arab! Pasha 
and others of the military party in the house of Talbah 
Pasha. 'Arab! and his followers were of one mind that 
constitutional government was, without question, the best 
form of government for a country, and that the time for a 
change to that kind of government had come in Egypt, 
f Abduh opposed this view. He maintained that a beginning 
must be made in educating the people so that men would be 
raised up who could perform the duties of representative 
government with intelligence and firmness. Both the Govern- 
ment and the people must become accustomed gradually to 
the giving and receiving of advice by means of special coun- 
cils instituted in the provinces and governorates. It would 
not be the part of wisdom to give the people what they are 
not prepared for. To do so would be like making it possible 
for a minor son to spend all his inheritance before he has 
attained his majority or been trained to spend money wisely. 
If the country were ready for participation in the Govern- 
ment, there would be no point in seeking for such participa- 
tion by force of arms. It is to be feared, he concluded, that 
this uprising will bring about the occupation of the country 
by foreigners. 1 On many other occasions he tried to convince 
'Arab! that a policy of moderation would, in a few years, win 
more than they were now seeking. 2 

On another occasion, when he was called upon to deliver 
an address before an important meeting of the leaders, he 
made the subject of his address a demonstration from history 
of the fact that when revolutions have been successful in 
limiting the power of autocratic governments and wresting 
from them rights of representation and equality, such 
revolutions have proceeded from the middle and lower classes 
of the nation, and then only after a united public opinion has 
been developed by education and training. It has never been 
the case that the wealthy and privileged and governing 

Tartkh, iii. 20, that when 'Abduh did his best to convince the leaders of the 
revolution of its untoward consequences, 'they seriously contemplated 
killing him*. 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 413 ; Tdrlkh, i. 146. Cf . Michel, p. xxxiii. 

8 Ibid., p. 416. 

56 Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 

classes have sought to put themselves on an equality with 
the common people and to share their wealth and power with 
the lower orders. Addressing his hearers directly, he said: 
'Have you upset the custom which God has followed with 
his creatures, and has the order followed by human society 
been reversed? Has virtue reached a perfection with you 
that no one else has ever attained, so that, of your own 
choice and willingly, with full vision and understanding, you 
have decided to make the other members of your nation 
sharers with you in your power and glory, and put yourselves 
on an equality with beggars, out of love for justice and 
humanity ? Or are you following a course of which you are 
ignorant, and doing that which you do not understand ? n 

He himself, as before intimated, was strongly in favour of 
constitutional government, but he believed that such a form 
of government should be established only with the consent of 
the ruler and his government, not by rebellion against him ; 
and that such a beginning should be made as would accustom 
the people to the practices and requirements of representa- 
tive government, such experiments to be accompanied by 
teaching and training, until a new generation should be 
brought to maturity. 2 

When, however, the course of events made it necessary for 
him to choose between the Nationalist cause and that of the 
Khedive, which was in effect that of t foreign intervention, 
he cast in his lot with the Nationalists, although he feared the 
results of their course of action. 3 When, therefore, the cause 
failed, he was arraigned with the other leaders of the uprising, 
tried, and sentenced to exile from the country for three years 
and three months, and was forbidden to return until permis- 
sion to do so had been given by the Egyptian Government. 4 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 414, 415. 3 Ibid., p. 415. 

8 Ibid. , p . 4 1 6. W. S . Blunt (op. cit . , p . 1 45 ) states that on the presentation 
of the joint note of France and England, January 8, 1882, 'the Egyptians 
for the first time found themselves quite united. Shaikh Muhammad l Abduh 
and the cautious Azhar reformers from that point threw in their lot wholly 
with the advanced party*. 

4 Al-Manar, viii. 416. Cf. Michel, p. xxxiv. According to Maskahir, ii. 
282, he was condemned on the charge of having given a fatwa (decision 
according to Islamic Law) in favour of the deposition of the Khedive 
Tawflk Pasha. Cf. also, the same statement in Tarlkh, iii. 100, probably 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 57 

The trial took place in September, 1882 ;* and before the end 
of that year he had left Egypt, directing his steps towards 
Syria, that he might find there a home and a refuge until he 
might be permitted to return again to his own country. 

Thus ended, in failure and bitter disappointment, his first 
efforts for the uplift of his country ; and the bitterness was 
further increased by the fact that some of his friends on whom 
he had placed dependence, turned against him during the 
trial and sought to implicate him more deeply in the events 
which had just passed. But the high hopes with which he had 
begun his work were not entirely quenched. 'But I say to 
you,' he wrote to a friend from prison during the course of 
the trial, after having mentioned the false charges brought 
against him, 'these distressing events will sometime be for- 
gotten, and this national honour will sometime be restored. 
But if the character of this land, because of its sordidness, 
does not permit that it should have any part in this restora- 
tion, then let the honour return to lands that are better. And 
as for me, let me attract to nobility my friends and any who 
feel themselves attracted by it. All this, in case I live and my 
bodily health permits ; I ask nothing else beyond these two 
things except the assistance of God, whom some of the people 
know and whom some deny.' 2 

Agitator and Lecturer: Life in Exile, 1882-8. 

It was the intention of Muhammad 'Abduh when he left 
Egypt at the end of 1882 to take up his abode in Syria until 
such time as he should be permitted to return to Egypt. 3 
But after a residence of about a year in Bairiit he received 

quoted from the former. The Journal du Caire (ibid., p. 169) varies the 
statement by saying that he 'published' such afatwd. No specific charges 
are mentioned by Muhammad Rashld Rida in his earlier account. In his 
later work, Tarikh, i. 266, he says that, because of charges of which he was 
not guilty, brought against him by some of his former friends he was tried, 
along with the military leaders, on the charge of rebellion. 
1 Tarikh, iii. 169. 

* Tarikh, ii. 526. This portion of the letter is quoted also in Al~Manar t 
viii. 454, and in Tarikh, i. 267 sqq. 

* Ibid., pp. 528, 529, in a letter from Bairut to Jamal, then in Paris ; the 
letter is not dated, but was evidently written not long after Muhammad 
*Abduh had left Egypt. 

58 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

an invitation from Jamal al-Din, who had been in Paris from 
the beginning of the year 1883, to join him there to work on 
behalf of what he called 'the Egyptian question'. 1 Early in 
1884, 'Abduh therefore left Bairut and joined his former 
teacher in Paris. There he remained about ten months, 
except for a brief visit or two to England for conference with 
British high officials concerning affairs in Egypt and the 
Sudan, then in a critical state because of the Mahdi uprising. 2 
During this period the two friends were engaged in promoting 
the affairs of the secret organization, 'Al-'Urwah al-Wuthkah', 
which they had founded to arouse and unite public opinion 
in all Muslim countries, and in editing the publication of the 
same name which served to propagate their views. 3 When the 
publication was suppressed, the two separated, Jamal going 
to Russia, and Muhammad 'Abduh going to Tunis in the 
latter part of 1884, where he remained for a short time, and 
then travelled incognito in a number of other countries, 
strengthening the organization of the society they had 
founded. 4 

The success which attended the publication of Al-'Urwak 
al-Wuthkah, despite its brief career, may be understood from 
a brief survey of the ideas which recurred most frequently in 
its pages. Its appeals to all Muslim peoples, whose present 
decadence it laments, to unite on the basis of their common 
faith, in order to resist the aggressions of their own rulers and 
those of foreign countries of another faith, and restore the lost 
glories of a united and victorious Islam, were well calculated 
to arouse the sympathies of all Muslims who deplored the 
present divided and backward state of Muslim nations. 
Moreover, its articles were written in Arabic of unusual 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 455. 

2 Cf . above, p. 10. An account of an interview which Muhammad 'Abduh 
had with Lord Hartington, Secretary of State for War, is given in Al-Manar > 
viii. 458-61, reproduced from an article which appeared at the time in 
Al- e Urwah al-Wuthkah. 8 Cf. above, p. 9. 

4 Al-Manar, viii. 462. Michel, p. xxxv. Tdrlkh, i. 380 sqq. In the latter 
account it is clearly stated that Muhammad 'Abduh entered Egypt in dis- 
guise, in order to make preparations for proceeding to the Sudan, where he 
expected to be joined later by Jamal al-Din if the preparatory steps were 
successfully completed. It was their purpose to secretly organize the 
forces of the Mahdi as a means of freeing Egypt from the Occupation. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 59 

excellence and eloquence. The following is a summary of its 
principal ideas. 1 

The religion of Islam is the one bond which unites Muslims of 
all countries and obliterates all traces of race or nationality. Its 
Divine Law (SharVah) regulates in detail the rights and duties of 
all, both ruler and subjects, and removes all racial distinctions and 
occasion for competition within the body of Islam. Any Muslim 
ruler can win distinction and gain great influence in the Muslim 
world by his devotion to the Shari'ah. Islam does not concern 
itself only with the future life, as do other religions, but deals also 
sufficiently with this present life, thus providing for what the 
Shari'ah calls 'the happiness of the two Abodes', that is, this 
world and the Hereafter. 2 

The Muslim peoples were once united under one glorious empire, 
and their achievements in learning and philosophy and all the 
sciences are still the boast of all Muslims. 3 It is a duty incumbent 
upon all Muslims to aid in maintaining the authority of Islam and 
Islamic rule over all lands that have once been Muslim ; and they 
are not permitted under any circumstances to be peaceable and 
conciliatory towards any who contend the mastery with them, 
until they obtain complete authority without sharing it with any 
one else. 4 Yet this unity has been lost through the ambitions and 
greed of aggrandizement of Muslim rulers ; and the downfall of 
Muslim nations has been brought about by the lust of the rulers 
for dainties and luxuries, for titles and honours, even as we see 
to-day. 5 The bonds binding Muslims together began to fall apart 
when the ' Abbassid Caliphs became content to possess the title of 
Caliph, and ceased to be scholars and trained in religious matters 
and in the exercise of 'Ijtihad', as were the first four Caliphs, Hhe 
Rightly Guided Caliphs'. Hence from the beginning of the third 
century of the Hijrah, sects and divisions multiplied, and the 
Caliphate itself became divided. 6 To-day we see Muslim rulers 
giving a free hand to foreigners to carry on the affairs of their 
states and even of their own houses, and fastening foreign rule 
upon their own necks. 7 Europeans, greedy for Muslim lands, seek 

1 Cf. Beitrdge, xiii. 92-4. 

a Tdrikh, ii, 231-5, 'Race and the Religion of Islam 1 , and frequently. 

3 Ibid., pp. 279-85, 'Islamic Unity', and elsewhere. 

* Ibid., pp. 250 sqq., 'The Decadence and Inactivity of Muslims' ; pp. 285 
sqq., 'Unity and Mastery '; pp. 244 sqq., 'Christendom and Islam and their 
Respective Peoples', and elsewhere. 6 Ibid., p. 282, 'Islamic Unity.' 

6 Ibid., p. 253, 'Decadence and Inactivity of Muslims'. 

7 Ibid., p. 283, 'Islamic Unity'. 

60 Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 

to destroy their religious unity and thus take advantage of the 
inner discords of Islam. 1 Foreigners, employed by Muslim govern- 
ments, since they belong neither to the religion nor to the state, 
are not concerned for the honour of the state and its welfare, but 
look only for their pay and think only of their own interests. 2 But 
the Muslim nations to-day are not concerned about helping one 
another. This is because they are ignorant of one another's state. 
The learned men, who should have tried to strengthen the bonds 
of unity by making the mosques and schools centres for the crea- 
tion of a spirit of unity, have neglected this method that was 
within their reach, for they had no communication with the 
learned men of other Muslim countries and so were ignorant of 
their condition ; and further, they had been corrupted by their 
rulers. 3 

The cure for these ills of Muslim countries is not to be found in 
multiplication of newspapers — for these have little influence ; not 
in introduction of schools modelled after those of Europe — for 
these can be used, together with the sciences they teach, to foster 
foreign influence; nor in European education and imitation of 
foreign customs — for imitation has only succeeded in quenching 
the spirit of the people and drawing down upon these countries 
the power of the foreigners whom they imitate. The only cure for 
these nations is to return to the rules of their religion and the 
practice of its requirements according to what it was in the begin- 
ning, in the days of the early Caliphs. 4 'If they rouse themselves 
to their present affairs and set their feet in the way of success and 
make the principles of their true religion their one concern, then 
they cannot fail thereafter of reaching in their progress the limit 
of human perfection,' 5 Furthermore, Muslims must learn to help 
one another and stand united against all foes. 'I do not seek in 
saying this that the supreme ruler over all should be one person, 
for this perhaps would be difficult ; but I do urge that the supreme 
authority over all should be the Kur'an, and the aspect in which 
they are united should be their religion, and that every ruler, each 
in his own state, put forth every effort for the protection of others 
as far as possible. For his own life stands by the life of the others, 

1 Tarikh, ii. 260, 'Fanaticism'. 

9 Ibid., p. 299, 'Men of the State and Courtiers of the Kingdom'. 

3 Ibid., pp. 251, 252, 254, 'Decadence and Inactivity of Muslims', p. 282 ; 
'Islamic Unity' ; p. 310, 'Appeal to Persians for Union with Afghanistan'. 

4 Ibid., pp. 235 sqq., 'The Past of the Muslim Community, its Present 
and the Remedy for its Ills' ; p. 234, 'Race and the Religion of Islam'. 

6 Ibid., p. 243, 'The Past of the Muslim Community, &c.' 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 61 

and his continued existence by theirs . n When any Muslim country 
is under the sway of a tyrannical ruler, whose will is law and whose 
course of action is bringing disaster to the country, it is the right 
of the people to free themselves from such a ruler, lest the whole 
Islamic Community become corrupted by his example. 2 

It will appear, even from the summary given above, that 
the tone and spirit of the journal was much more radical and 
aggressive than that of the ideas advocated by Muhammad 
' Abduh during his previous editorial experience in Egypt. It 
is not surprising that autocratic rulers in Muslim countries, 
and officials of governments having interests in these lands, 
should view with concern its continued publication and should 
eventually suppress it. One reason which may be advanced 
for its uncompromising aims and intransigent tone, is the 
outcome of recent affairs in Egypt and the fact that both 
Muhammad ( Abduh and Jamal had been banished from 
Egypt under the combined influence of foreign intervention 
and, as they thought, the too complacent assent of the Muslim 
ruler. But a more fundamental reason is to be seen in the 
fact that Muhammad 'Abduh is throughout the period of this 
political agitation, following the leadership of Jamal al-Dln, 
who was by nature a revolutionist, while he himself believed 
in the quieter but slower method of reform and education. 3 
It is true that he had, according to the statement of W. S. 
Blunt, at one time approved assassination as a means of 
freeing Egypt from a troublesome ruler, but at that time, 
also, Jamil's influence had been supreme, since he had not 
yet been banished from Egypt. 4 It is likewise true that about 
two years after the failure of Al-*Urwah al-Wuthkah and his 
final separation from Jamal, his Pan-Islamic sympathies 

1 Tdrikh, ii. 284, 'Islamic Unity'; pp. 285 sqq., * Unity and Mastery'. 
While united political rule for all Muslim countries, in so far as appears in 
the articles of Al-'Urwah al-Wuthkah which have been preserved by 
Muhammad Rashid Rida, is not advocated, as may be judged from the 
example above, yet elsewhere Muhammad 'Abduh insists upon the duty of 
supporting the Ottoman Caliphate as the protector and defender of Islam. 
'Proposals on Reform and Religious Instruction', in Tarikh, ii. 339, also 
'Proposals on Reform in Syria', ibid., p. 354. 

2 Ibid., pp. 231, 232, 'The Community and the Sway of a Tyrannical 
Ruler'. This article seems particularly to represent Jamal's sentiments. 

3 Cf. above, p. 14, n. 2. 4 Cf. above, p. 14, n. 2. 

62 Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 

strongly appear in two communications on the subject of 
reform which he addressed, one to the Shaikh al-Islam at 
Constantinople and the other to the Wall of Bairut. The 
preservation of the Ottoman Empire he holds to be the third 
article of belief, after belief in God and in His prophet, because 
it alone protects the religion of Islam and guarantees the 
existence of its domains. ' This is our belief, Praise be to God ; 
in it we live and in it we will die.' But it is a mistake to sup- 
pose that regard for the Islamic Caliphate arises from any 
other sentiment than that due to their religion ; it does not 
come from the name of ' the fatherland ' or ' the welfare of the 
country' or 'any other such high-sounding phrases'. 1 His 
distrust of and aversion to foreign influence is also evident in 
his references to 'the foreign devils' from France, England, 
Germany, and America, who have established foreign schools 
in Muslim countries in their endeavour to subvert Muslim 
beliefs and win the sympathies of the people towards the 
countries which they represent. 2 

Yet a consideration of his career as a whole, and of the 
general trend of his writings, is convincing as to the fact that, 
fundamentally, Muhammad ( Abduh was a reformer who 
depended more upon methods of reform and education than 
upon agitation and revolution. If, during the latter stages of 
the ( Arabi movement, he was actively identified with the 
revolutionists, it was because, as has been said, he was drawn 
by force of circumstances into acceptance of methods which 
he did not approve. So, too, his participation with Jamal in 
political agitation was dictated by considerations of policy 
and aims rather than by entire approval of method. He felt 
that the same ends could be attained more surely, if more 
slowly, by quieter means. 'His experience and that of his 

1 Tarikh, ii. 339. 

2 Ibid., pp. 340, 359, 362. Such distrust of foreign influence is not un- 
known among the Christians of the East, also. It is possible to discover in 
the reaction of the East against foreign domination to-day, similarity to the 
anti-Hellenism and the anti-Romanism which grew steadily from the early 
days of the Roman Empire (perhaps from a considerably earlier time). 
The reaction manifested itself, not only in uprisings, but also in the develop- 
ment of indigenous types in architecture and other arts, in the sciences, in 
religious divisions, &c. This spirit of revolt was one of the contributing 
factors in the early spread of Islam. 

Muhammad "Abduh: Biography 63 

master with Tawflk Pasha in Egypt', states Muhammad 
Rashid Rida, 'had weakened his hope of political reform, and 
had turned his attention to general public reform by means of 
training and education.' 1 He therefore expressed to Jamal 
al-Dln in Europe, his belief that this political method would 
not result in any good, for the establishment of a just and 
reformed Muslim government did not depend alone on the 
removal of the hindrances occasioned by foreigners. It would 
be better, he thought, if they, too, would devote themselves 
to training men according to their own ideals, in some quiet 
spot remote from political influences, and these men, in turn, 
would go out to different countries to train others. Thus at 
no remote date they would have a considerable force of agents 
at work. 'It is men', he said, 'who will accomplish every- 
thing.' 2 But this idea Jamal overruled, holding that they 
must continue in the course they had begun until they had 
completed their work or had failed. 

It was doubtless to the 'Arab! period, also, that he refers 
in his autobiography, when he says that at one time he enter- 
tained the purpose, as one of the chief aims of his life, of 
championing the rights of the Egyptian people as against 
their ruler, teaching them that while they owed him obedience, 
they also possessed certain rights, among them that of having 
their wishes so represented to the sovereign, that he would be 
held in check when inclined to go astray. Some of his aims, 
he continues, he had realized approximately ; 'but the matter 
of the government and the governed I abandoned to the 
decision of fate, and to the hand of God thereafter to arrange. 
For I had learned that it is a fruit which the nations gather 
from plantings which they themselves plant and nourish 
through long years. It is this planting which requires to be 

1 Al-Mandr, viii. 457. Mashdhlr, i. 285, says that Jamal and Muhammad 
'Abduh were one in aim, namely, to unite Islam and ameliorate its condition, 
but they differed in regard to the means to that end. Jamal hoped by 
political means to unite all Muslim countries under one Islamic government. 
But Muhammad 'Abduh had learned that political methods would not 
accomplish the desired results and therefore strove for this end by means 
of education and purification of religion and preparation of the Muslim 
nations to take their place among the nations of the world and share in 
their progress. Moreover, Jamal's nervous energy demanded speedier 
results. 2 Ibid., p. 457. 

64 Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 

attended to now/ 1 The results of his European experiences 
no doubt contributed to this conclusion. At any rate, when 
he returned to Egypt at the termination of his exile, he 
adopted a much more conciliatory attitude towards the 
Occupation than he had held formerly ; he came to favour 
openly the existing Government 'because, as he said, he 
estimated at its true value the freedom which it made pos- 
sible ' ; 2 he became the close friend and adviser of Mustafa 
Pasha Fahmi, Prime Minister from 1895 to 1908, and also the 
friend and confidant of Lord Cromer. 3 

At the beginning of the year 1885, after this period of 
secret agitation, Muhammad e Abduh returned to Bairut, 
leaving Jamal to continue this work alone, which he did to 
the end of his days. Muhammad *Abduh found a welcome 
from his former friends in Bairut, and his house soon became 
a centre of pilgrimage for scholars and students and men of 
literary tastes from all sects and religious communities. He 
gave lectures in his house on the Life of Muhammad, 4 and in 
two of the mosques of the city he gave extempore lectures in 
exposition of the Kur'an. He took advantage of the throngs 
of the common people of all sects and nationalities, Sunnis, 
ShI'ites, Druses, Christians, Jews, who came to his house, to 
give expression to his views on religious matters. He treated 
all with impartial courtesy, but never said anything except 
what he believed, whether in regard to religion or learning, 
customs or social affairs. He won the regard of all by his 
learning, his conduct, and his eloquence. 5 

Towards the end of 1885 he was invited to become teacher 
in the Sultaniyyah School. As was his wont, he introduced 
improvements into the administration of the school and 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 893. 

2 Tdrlkh, iii. 154. In Al-Manar, viii. 462 the same reason is given for his 
publicly enjoining upon the Egyptians a friendly attitude towards the 

3 Lord Cromer says of him that he was a man of broad and enlightened 
views, who admitted the existence of abuses under an Oriental government, 
and recognized the necessity of European assistance in reform. Vide 
further for Lord Cromer's estimate of him, Modern Egypt, ii. 179-81. 

4 Al-Manar, viii. 463. The text which he used as a basis for his lectures 
was Al-strah al-nabawiyyah, by Ahmad ibn Zaini Dahlan (d. a.d. 1886), cf. 
Brockelmann, Gesch. d. arab. Lit. ii. 500, nr. 15. c Ibid., p. 464. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 65 

revised the programme of studies, adding courses in theology, 
jurisprudence, and history. He devoted the whole day to 
teaching, and gave also much attention to raising the moral 
tone of the school. 1 

He found time also for literary work. He translated Jamal 
al-Dln's Refutation of the Materialists from the Persian into 
Arabic. He also put into form for publication the lectures 
which he had given to his students, in the form of comment 
and explanation, on two well-known but difficult types of 
correct and elegant Arabic literature, one, ' Nahj al-Balaghah J , 2 
a work in prose which is considered a model of eloquence, and 
the other, 'Makamat BadT al-Zaman al-Hamadham', 3 a 
similar model in rhymed prose. The lectures which he gave 
on theology were not published at that time, but formed the 
basis from which his later work, Risalat al-tawhid, was de- 
veloped. He also contributed many articles to newspapers. 4 

His restless zeal for reform sought a wider field for exercise 
than that of his immediate centre of work. By travel through 
Syria and various other parts of the Turkish Empire and 
contacts with many people, he had gained first-hand know- 
ledge of conditions throughout the Empire. He accordingly, 
in 1886, in his usual careful and methodical manner, prepared 
two papers embodying a statement of conditions as he saw 
them, and suggestions for remedying them. One, 'Proposals 
on Reform and Religious Instruction', he addressed to the 
Shaikh al-Islam at Constantinople. After professing his devo- 
tion to the Ottoman Caliph, he points out the ignorance of 
Islam and its requirements which prevails generally through- 
out the Turkish Empire, which has resulted in a decay of 
morals and has permitted the 'foreign devils' to get some 
hold upon the minds of the people through their schools. The 
cause of this religious decline is lack of religious instruction, 

1 Ibid., p. 463. 

2 Published under the title, Shark Kitab Nahj al-Balaghah. Cf . Brockel- 
mann, Oesch. d. arab. Lit. i. 404; also Huart, Arab. Lit., p. 253. As the title, 
'The Highway of Eloquence', indicates, it was intended to serve as a text- 
book in rhetoric and composition. 

3 The Makamat ('Assemblies') of Bad!' al-Zaman al-Hamadhani (d. a.d. 
1008). Cf. Brockelmann, op. cit., i. 95; Huart, p. 133. 

4 Cf. in Tarikh, ii. 333-7, one article from this period, contributed to 
Thamarat al-Funun, on 'Criticism'. 

66 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

and the only remedy to be found is in improving this instruc- 
tion. He divides the people into three classes, according to 
occupation and the degree of education which they have re- 
ceived or require. He then proposes a course of instruction 
for each class, graded according to the requirements of each. 
He offers these suggestions for the consideration of the educa- 
tional commission which had been appointed by the Sultan 
to investigate the state of education in the Empire. 1 In the 
second paper, 'Proposals on Reform in Syria', which he 
presented to the Wall (governor) of Bairut, he surveys the 
conditions of all the classes and sects represented in the popu- 
lation of the three provinces of Syria, namely^ the Lebanons, 
Bairut, and Syria, with respect to the state of religion and 
education among them and their political affiliations and 
sympathies, points out the dangers to be anticipated from 
foreign schools, and suggests the founding of suitable schools 
and increase of religious education. 2 

Finally, after a residence of about three and a half years in 
Bairut, pardon was secured for him from the Khedive Tawfik 
Pasha through the mediation of a number of influential 
persons, among them Lord Cromer, 3 and in the latter part of 
I888 4 he returned to Egypt. He had married a second time 
in Bairut, his first wife having died. 5 During the interim of 
six years since he had left Egypt, he had travelled in several 
European countries and was an eager and interested observer 
of that Western civilization with which he had first become 
acquainted through his studies of modern works and which 
he had much desired to see at first-hand. 6 He travelled also 

1 Tarikh, ii. 338-53. 

8 Ibid., pp. 354-63. For Horten on these proposals, of. Beitrdge, xiii. 94, 95. 

3 Al-Manar, viii. 467. Cf. Lord Cromer's statement, 'under British 
pressure he was pardoned'. Modern Egypt, ii. 179. 

4 According to the Muslim dating, a.h. 1306, Al-Manar, viii. 465. 

6 Tarikh, iii. 152, especially footnote, also pp. 154, 169. Cf. Michel, 
p. xxx vi. 

6 Cf. Tarikh, iii. 84: 'At Oxford and Cambridge one finds him observing 
how nations rise to greatness.' In the account which he contributed to 
Al-Manar (vols, vi and vii) of his visit to Palermo and other parts of Sicily, 
en route from Tunis and Algeria to Bairut, he takes occasion to intersperse 
many observations on social, literary and religious reforms necessary in 
Muslim lands, which were suggested to him by scenes and conditions which 
he was witnessing. Tarikh ii. 421-58. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 67 

in many Muslim lands and discovered the sources of Muslim 
weakness and received impressions which later travels only- 
tended to confirm. 1 Thus he was himself, personally, the 
gainer by this enforced absence from his country, particularly 
in those respects which fitted him for a more influential leader- 
ship in that field of reform which he had chosen for his own. 
"The exile ', says Muhammad Rashid Bida, 'was a misfortune 
and a hardship to all those who were exiled, except to the 
Imam (Muhammad 'Abduh) ; but to him it was a mercy and 
a blessing, a contribution to the completeness of his learning 
and of his education, and a means to the dissemination of his 
learning in many lands.' 2 

So stimulating and valuable did he himself find his travels 
in Europe, which circumstances not of his own planning had 
made possible the first time, that in later years he returned 
to Europe again and again, whenever he felt the need, as he 
said, 'of renewing his soul'. 3 'I never once went to Europe ', 
he says further, 'that there was not renewed within me hope 
of the change of the present state of Muslims to something 
better.' And although these hopes became weakened when he 
returned to his own country because of the magnitude of the 
difficulties which he encountered and the obstinacy, indif- 
ference and supineness of his own people: 'Yet', he con- 
tinues, 'whenever I returned to Europe and remained there 
a month or two, these hopes came back to me, and the attain- 
ment of that which I had been accounting impossible seemed 
easy to me \ 4 It was thus, under the influence of many stimu- 
lating impressions gathered from his extended period of 
residence abroad, that he returned to Egypt to enter upon 
the culminating period of his service to his religion and to his 

1 Al-Mandr, viii. 465. 2 Ibid., p. 416. 

3 Ibid., p. 466. 4 Ibid., p. 466. 



1888-1905: Culmination of Career. 
Reformer and Public Servant. 

WHEN Muhammad ' Abduh returned to Egypt, he found 
himself honoured and esteemed on every hand by the 
Egyptian people, as one who had attempted much and 
endured much on behalf of Egyptian freedom and the re- 
habilitation of all Muslim peoples. 1 This confidence he justi- 
fied to the highest degree in the years which followed. He 
was entrusted, one after another, with the most responsible 
and influential positions, and was constantly engaged in a 
great variety of important activities. He did not always 
succeed in winning universal approval: his efforts to effect 
reforms where strongly entrenched interests held the field 
made this impossible ; yet not even his opponents could 
question the disinterestedness of his motives and the purity 
of his zeal for religion and country. The years from his return 
until his death thus form the period of his greatest activity 
and of his most important contributions to Egypt and to 
Islam, despite the lack of any outstanding events, such as 
characterized the preceding periods. 2 The statement which 
was made concerning him, after his death, may fairly be 
taken as a characterization of his work throughout the whole 
period: 'No great work was completed in Egypt that his 
hand was not in it before any other hand, and his effort before 
any other effort/ 3 

In the Native Tribunals. 

The Khedive, Tawfik Pasha, after having been prevailed 
upon to pardon him, appointed him a 'Kadi' (judge) in the 
Courts of First Instance of the Native Tribunals (Al-Mahakim 
al-AMiyyah al-Ibtidd'iyyah).* The latter wished to return to 

1 Cf. Beitrage, xiii. 92. 2 Cf . Michel, p. xxxvi. 

3 Tarlkh, iii. 10, 79. The same sentiment is expressed in Mashdklr, i. 283. 

4 Ibid., iii. 21. Four judicial systems exist side by side in Egypt. First, 
the Consular Courts, which have jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography (59 

his teaching in the Dar arUlum, for he felt that teaching was 
his proper sphere, in which already he had made trial of 
himself and had experienced some success. But the Khedive 
was not willing to change the appointment, for he feared the 
influence of his political views upon the students. 1 Since he 
could not better the matter, 'Abduh accepted the appoint- 
ment and served, first in Benha, then in Zagazig, and then in 
Cairo. 2 Two years later, a.h. 1308 (a.d. 1890), he was appointed 
Consultative Member of the Court of Appeal (Mahkamat al- 
Isti'naf) in Cairo. 3 

During his career on the bench, Muhammad 'Abduh 
sought with consistency of aim to promote the ends of justice 
and equity, and where possible to resolve the difficulties of 

involving subjects of the foreign powers, fifteen in number, which are party 
to the Capitulations. Second, the Mixed Tribunals, for all cases involving 
Egyptian subjects and foreigners. Third, the 'Mahkamahs' (al-MahdJcim 
al-SharHyyah), or Courts of the Kadis, which have jurisdiction over all 
Egyptian subjects (Muslims) in matters of personal status, such as marriage, 
inheritance, guardianship, &c, rendering their decisions on the basis of the 
Shari'ah, or Sacred Law of Islam. Fourth, the Native Tribunals [Al- 
Mahakim al-Ahliyyah). These, instituted in 1883, 'deal with civil cases in 
which both parties are Ottoman subjects, and with all criminal cases in 
which an Ottoman subject is the accused party \ Cromer, Modem Egypt, ii. 
515. (Since the termination of the British Protectorate and the recognition 
of Egypt as an independent kingdom in February, 1922, Egyptians are no 
longer Ottoman subjects.) These courts administer a jurisprudence 
modelled on that of the French Code. These were modified and simplified 
in 1891 and again in 1904, more important modifications were effected. 
The judges are both Egyptian and foreign. Vide Enc. Britt., art. ' Egypt — 
Justice'. The statement of Horten (Beitrdge, xiii. 101, n. 3.) that these 
courts were first established at the time that Muhammad 'Abduh was 
appointed to them is therefore not exact. The statement of Tarikh, iii. 246, 
on which he depends, properly reads, 'By that time the Ahliyyah Courts 
had been established, and Muhammad ' Abduh was appointed a Judge of the 
First Instance in them,' &c. 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 467. Muhammad 'Abduh preferred teaching, although 
he realized that the path of preferment lay open to him in the judicial 
career, while none could be expected in a career as a teacher. Cf. also 
Tarikh, iii. 242. 

2 Tarikh, iii. 21, 121, 126, 152, 170, 242, 246. 

3 Ibid., iii. 21, 121, 162, 170. Cf. Michel, p. xxxvi. Horten {Beitrage, xiii. 
101) gives 1892 as the date of his appointment as judge, on the authority of 
the Egyptian Gazette (Tarikh, iii. 152) which says that he was pardoned and 
appointed that year. But this is much too late a date for his return to 
Egypt, at which time his pardon and appointment took place. Likewise, 
the date which Horten assigns for his appointment to the Court of Appeal, 
1896, is also too late. 

70 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

litigation by compromise and reconciliation. To accomplish 
these ends, he applied the law with an independence of 
judgement in interpretation and a freedom from subservient 
regard for legal forms that led sometimes to criticisms from 
the more literally minded ; he even at times purposely contra- 
vened the law, as when he imprisoned witnesses whose testi- 
mony was manifestly perjured. 1 He sought also to make the 
exercise of his office effective in awakening and educating the 
public conscience, particularly with regard to the two evils 
of perjury in court and prostitution. 2 His ability in deciding 
cases, and his uncanny insight in discerning between the 
innocent and those rightly suspected, became matters of 
common remark. 3 

Reforms' in the Azhar. 

Meanwhile the purpose which he had conceived, even in his 
student days, after he had begun to associate with Jamal 
al-Din, 4 of effecting reforms in conditions prevailing in Al- 
Azhar, continued to grow in his mind. Since the Azhar is 
to-day the chief seat of learning in Egypt and in the entire 
Muslim world, he believed that, if the Azhar were reformed, 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 468, 469 ; Tarikh, iii. 242. Muhammad Rashid Bida, 
calls him a 'r£adi mujtahid' not a 'mukallid', i.e. one who arrives at an 
independent opinion by his own handling of the original sources on which 
such an opinion may be based, and does not simply confine himself within 
the limits of an authoritative deliverance, handed down from masters of 
former generations. In orthodox Islam, the right of 'ijtihad' (independent 
opinion) in matters of law and religion, belonged only to the great masters 
of the early generations and has consequently not existed since the third 
century a.h. Muhammad 'Abduh and his followers have, however, claimed 
this right for the present generation, as for every other, so that Islam, and 
particularly its legal system, may be adapted to present-day requirements. 
Since the law code administered by the Native Tribunals was not Islamic 
Law pure and simple, Muhammad Rashid Rida can only have intended that 
Muhammad 'Abduh exhibited the same spirit in dealing with this code as 
in dealing with Islamic Law. He mentions cases involving interest (which 
is not legal according to Islamic Law), as among those in which he showed 
independence of treatment. The principle which he enunciated at one time, 
in defence of his decisions, was that the regulations of the law were origi- 
nated for the ends of justice and not justice for the ends of the law. 

2 It is said that in some places where he held office (Zagazig is mentioned 
particularly), he almost succeeded in cleansing the city of these evils during 
his term of office. Al-Manar, viii. 469. 

3 An anecdote illustrating his reputation is given in Tdrtkh, iii, 54. 

4 Al-Mandr, viii. 471. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 71 

Islam would be reformed. 1 If the methods of administration 
and teaching then in vogue could be improved, and its curri- 
culum widened to include some of the modern sciences so that 
the Azhar might more nearly resemble a European univer- 
sity, 2 and still more important, if the character of Islam itself 
could be modernized and reformed within this centre and 
stronghold of the religious sciences, it might reasonably be 
expected that the power and prestige of the Azhar would 
carry these reforms throughout the whole of Egypt and even 
to other Muslim countries. Thus the Azhar would become 
a 'lighthouse ' and means of guidance to all the Muslim world. 3 
In any case it was impossible for it to continue in its present 
state in this day and age. It must either, he was persuaded, 
be given new life or fall into complete decay. 4 

He had made some tentative attempts at reform during 
his student days, 5 and again, after his return from exile, he 
had approached Shaikh Muhammad al-Anbabi, then rector 
of the Azhar, with regard to introducing certain studies into 
the curriculum. 6 From the opposition which he had en- 
countered in these attempts he had learned that he could 
hope to accomplish nothing without the help of the Khedive, 
and this help Tawfik Pasha was not willing to give. 7 When 
'Abbas Hilmi came to the throne as 'Abbas II in 1892, upon 
the death of his father, Tawfik Pasha, Muhammad c Abduh 
laid his plans for reform of the Azhar before the young 
Khedive in the hope of winning his favour, 8 and succeeded 
in securing the enactment of a preliminary regulation where- 
by, on the seventeenth of Rajab, a.h. 1312 (January 15, 
1895), 9 an Administrative Committee for the Azhar was 

1 Mashahir, i. 286 ; Al-Manar, viii. 470. 

3 Tarikh, iii. 137. Cf. also Al-Manar, viii. 895: 'His hope of reform was 
bound up in the Azhar.' It was his intention to widen the rangenf studies 
so that specialized training could be given to certain classes who would 
become expert in their particular field, beginning with kadis for the 
'Mahkamahs', then missionaries or propagandists, and others for preaching 
in the mosques and for public exhortation. a Tdrlkh,ui. 24, 157, 242, 258. 

4 Al-Manar, viii. 471. 5 Ibid., pp. 400, 471. 

* Ibid., p. 471. He suggested the introduction of the Prolegomena of Ibn 

7 Tarikh, iii. 166. The orthodox opposed the introduction of modern 
sciences on the ground that they were not in harmony with the teachings 
of Islam. Tarikh, iii. 138. 8 Al-Manar, viii. 472. * Tarikh, iii. 250. 

12 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

appointed, to consist of the most important shaikhs of the 
university, representing the four orthodox rites or schools 
of canon law. Muhammad 'Abduh and his friend, Shaikh 
'Abd al-Karim Salman, were made members of this Com- 
mittee to represent the Government, the Shaikh al-Azhar and 
the Committee itself having nothing to say about their choice. 1 
From the first, Muhammad ' Abduh was the moving spirit in 
this Committee. 

Although he thus had behind him the favour of the Khedive 
and the influence of the Government in a measure, he wished 
that the reforms which he hoped to introduce might carry 
the consent and approval of the teachers (the shaikhs or 
( Ulama) of the Azhar. For this reason he wisely began by 
taking measures to increase their salaries. 2 While some few 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 472. There had been many complaints on the part of 
the shaikhs regarding the administration of Shaikh Muhammad al-Anbabi, 
who was then ill. Accordingly in 1312 (latter part of 1894), a month before 
the appointment of the Administrative Committee, Shaikh Hassunah al- 
Nawawi was appointed his deputy, after he had given assurances that he 
would establish order and co-operate with Muhammad 'Abduh in reform. 
Shortly afterwards (1313/1895) Al-Anbabi was persuaded to resign and 
Shaikh Hassunah took his place. Al-Mandr, viii. 472, 473. The latter had 
taught in government schools and knew something of their order and dis- 
cipline. It was expected that his appointment would help to secure improve- 
ment in instruction in the Azhar. He was removed, however (1899, Vollers, 
Enc, Islam, art. 'Azhar'), and was followed by 'Abd al-Rahman al-Kutb, 
who died very soon thereafter. The Khedive then chose Shaikh Salim al- 
Bishrl for the office, but later, without consulting his government, removed 
him and appointed, by agreement with the Government, however, Shaikh 
Al-Sayyid 'All al-Biblawi in his stead. This was in 1320/1902, (Al-Manar, 
viii. 957). In March, 1905, Shaikh Al-Biblawi resigned and was succeeded 
by Shaikh 'Abd al-Rahman al-Sharbml. This account of the frequent 
changes in the rectorship, given in Al-Manar, viii. 76, 77, should be com- 
pared with the list given by Vollers (cf. above). The latter gives the length 
of Salim al-Bishrf s tenure as from 1899 to 1905 and makes no mention of 
*Ali al-Biblawi. In regard to the latter, cf. also a reference of Tdrlkh, iii. 
39, to the fact that two former rectors, Shaikh Hassunah al-Nawawi and 
Shaikh 'All al-Biblawi, were present in the funeral procession of Muham- 
mad 'Abduh, while the present rector, Shaikh Al-Sharbini was absent, 
pleading illness. Cf. also in a letter of Shaikh Ibrahim Bey al-Hilbawi to 
*Abd al Karim Salman, a reference to the resignation of Shaikh 'Ali al- 
Biblawi, Tdrlkh, iii. 278. Cf . also the changes in office as given in Tdrlkh, iii. 
167, and summary in Tdrlkh, i. 493, 494. Muhammad 'Abduh was never 
rector (although Goldziher to the contrary, Koranauslegung, p. 321.) 

2 Al-Manar, viii. 473-5. The account of reforms in the Azhar is there 
given in summary form. Full details are supplied in the memorial address 
of Shaikh Ahmad Abu Khatwah, Tdrlkh, iii. 250 sqq. Horten (Beitrdge, 

Muhammad "Abduh: Biography 73 

of the teachers were receiving as much as six hundred piastres 
per month or more, others were receiving as little as sixteen 
piastres and the majority nothing at all, having to depend 
upon such fees as they could extract from their students and 
upon outside employment. 1 Muhammad 'Abduh secured a 
grant of 1,000 pounds from the State treasury, with promise 
of more, on condition that this amount be spent according to 
a fixed plan and not at the discretion of the Shaikh al-Azhar, 
as such sums had formerly been spent, and on condition that 
the improvement made justified further increase. This gave 
him ground and justification for assigning salaries according 
to a graded classification of the teachers, so that each one 
would know the amount he was to receive regularly each 
month, without having to depend upon the whim or favour- 
itism of the Shaikh al-Azhar. Further, he formulated regula- 
tions governing the assignment of the ' robes of honour ' (kasawi 
al-tashrlf) which, according to the practice of the Middle 
Ages, were assigned to be worn on certain occasions as a mark 
of honour and recognition. Assignment was placed upon the 
basis of merit, due consideration being given, among other 
things, to length of service, whereas formerly this matter 
had been entirely in the hands of the Shaikh al-Azhar. 

He also made a thorough investigation of the living condi- 
tions of the students and found them crowded and unsani- 
tary, and the students themselves existing on insufficient 
allowances of bread which were made to the students accord- 
ing to long-established custom. He secured an increase in 
the number of daily loaves, so that instead of 5,000 loaves the 
number eventually reached 15,000. He secured additional 
appropriation from the Wakfs Administration through the 
influence of the Khedive, and also reorganized the trust funds 

xiii. 106-12) reproduces these details. Michel's summary (Introd., pp. 
xxxvii, xxxviii) is brief and concise. Al-Mandr published in 1905 a report 
of the reforms attempted under the title 'Actions of the Administrative 
Committee of the Azhar, 1895-1905' ('A'mal majlis idarat al-Azhar> 1312- 
22), that is, from the time of the appointment of the Committee until 
Muhammad 'Abduh's resignation from it. Cf. Vollers's estimate of this 
report in Enc. Islam, art. 'Azhar'. For a very full, detailed account of the 
situation which then existed in the Azhar, the reforms which were attempted, 
and the reactionary influences and political intrigues which were opposed to 
the success of these reforms, see Tarikh, i. 425-600. x Tdrikh, iii. 250. 

74 Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 

and pious endowments of the Azhar, which were in hopeless 
confusion. In this manner the income was increased from 
about 4,000 pounds yearly to 14,7 50. x A plan for regulating 
the distribution of the daily allowance of loaves, which had 
become the source of private emolument to various shaikhs 
and officials and an unending cause of disputes and quarrels, 
was, however, shelved by the Administrative Committee. 
The share of the trust funds which formerly was allotted to 
the children of deceased teachers in the Azhar without any 
attached condition, was now limited by the condition that 
the children should be preparing themselves by study to 
succeed their fathers as teachers. 2 He secured additional 
dormitories for the students, renewed the furniture and 
equipment, improved the sanitary arrangements, installed 
a system of running water, especially that the ritual ablutions 
might be performed in more sanitary fashion, and installed 
petroleum lights instead of the vegetable -oil lights formerly 
in use. A physician was placed in charge of the medical 
inspection of the students, a dispensary was fitted up within 
the Azhar where medicines were provided to the students 
free of charge, and later a hospital was provided. 

The administrative affairs of the university likewise re- 
ceived attention. Rooms were set aside in an accessible part 
of the buildings for the administrative offices, and a sufficient 
number of clerks and attendants employed to aid the Shaikh 
al-Azhar in carrying out the duties of the reorganized system 
of administration. Formerly the Shaikh al-Azhar conducted 

1 Tarikh, iii. 251. The figures for allowances and income include the 
affiliated mosque schools of Tanta, Dassuk, Damiatta, and Alexandria. The 
figures are evidently corrected to the time of Muhammad 'Abduh's resigna- 
tion in 1905. Comparison may be made with those given in Vollers's article 
already referred to, which differ somewhat from the above. In regard to 
attendance, the official report for 1892, published shortly after the accession 
of 'Abbas II, records 178 teachers and 8,437 students; the report for 1901-2 
gives 251 teachers and 10,403 students. The numbers, which fluctuate con- 
siderably from year to year, include the affiliated schools, as in the case 
of income and allowances. 

3 Tarikh, iii. 254. When some of those who had formerly been profiting 
from this source had to give it up because they did not wish to prepare to 
teach, Muhammad 'Abduh personally interested himself in securing from 
various sources a maintenance fund for them, to which he himself con- 
tributed liberally. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 75 

his administrative duties from his own home, to which 
teachers and students were required to go on matters which 
needed his attention, while the greater part of the routine 
affairs were relinquished to the oversight of his one secretary, 
who, consequently, exercised somewhat arbitrary powers. 
The curriculum was also the subject of extended considera- 
tion. That any changes introduced might secure the approval 
of the majority of the teachers, a committee of more than 
thirty of the leading shaikhs was charged with the task of 
studying the whole matter of the studies already taught and 
those that should be introduced, and presenting its recom- 
mendations to the Administrative Committee. Those subjects 
which were regarded as fundamental and to be studied for 
their own sake were indicated, and likewise those that were 
to be studied as a means to the acquirement of the former. 1 
To the latter subjects were added arithmetic, algebra, history 
of Islam, composition, and other grammatical studies, and 
the elements of geometry and geography. To secure the 
diploma of "alim' (scholar, one fitted to teach) it was re- 
quired that the student should pass an examination in all the 
first group of subjects and some of the second, including 
arithmetic and algebra. It was further specified that, during 
his first four years, the student should not be required to 
study extensive glosses and commentaries, but should devote 
himself to acquiring a knowledge of the essentials of the 
religious sciences by simple and easy methods and likewise 
concern himself with his development in those moral charac- 
teristics approved by the Sharf ah. 

A series of supplementary regulations were also enacted by 
the Administrative Committee in consultation with the 
teachers, some of these affecting the methods of teaching, 
some the conduct of the teachers, and some that of the 
students and their relation to one another and to the teachers. 
The number and extent of the frequent holidays and recesses 
were reduced, so that the length of the actual sessions was 
increased from four months of the year to eight. It was found 
that under the new arrangements, the teachers and students 
applied themselves with diligence to their tasks. The number 

1 Tarikh, iii. 254. Cf. above, pp. 29, 30. 

76 Mukammad "Abduh: Biography 

of students who had previously presented themselves for 
examination had not been more than six in any one year, and 
on an average only about three in a year. But after the new 
order was introduced the number of those examined rose to 
ninety -five, of whom about a third were passed. It had been 
feared by many of the shaikhs that the modern studies newly 
introduced would attract the greater part of the students' 
attention, to the detriment of the ancient subjects hitherto 
studied exclusively. Muhammad 'Abduh devised a test to 
show that a larger percentage of students who were examined 
in both ancient and modern subjects were successful than of 
those who had studied only the ancient. 1 

Investigation had revealed the fact that the library of the 
university was in a deplorable state of neglect and disuse and 
was, in fact, almost non-existent. Such volumes as existed 
were scattered among the various 'riwaks', 2 and were many 
of them in dilapidated condition. Many valuable works had 
found their way into the hands of European scholars, and 
very many more had been sold at merely nominal prices to 
booksellers. From their various hiding-places these scattered 
books were carried in bags and baskets to the place set aside 
for a library, and were there arranged and classified. The 
libraries of the most important ' riwaks ' were left where they 
were, but were also arranged and classified and placed under 
proper care. Libraries were also instituted in the provincial 
mosque schools in Tanta, Dassuk, Damiatta, and Alexandria, 
which were now affiliated with the Azhar for purposes of 
administration and came under the same rules and regula- 
tions, thus sharing in the reforms which were being intro- 
duced into the central school. Muhammad 'Abduh hoped 
thus to make the Azhar the centre of a reform movement and 
an intellectual revival for the whole country. He himself 
returned to teaching in the Azhar, delivering lectures on 
theology, Kur'an interpretation, rhetoric and logic. 3 Mention 

1 Tarikh, hi. 256. 

2 'Riwak', i.e. loggia, or portico, strictly speaking the space between two 
pillars. Each considerable division of students, whether of nationality or 
sect, has its own special 'riwak', as the 'riwak of the Syrians' the 'riwak 
of the Hanbalites', &c. 

3 The lectures which he delivered in theology had been developed from 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 77 

should be made, finally, of the emphasis which he placed 
continually upon the necessity of a revival of the Arabic 
language and a return to the pure classical standards. This 
he did, not only by his use of it in his own lectures, addresses 
and conversations in the Azhar and elsewhere, but also by 
securing from the Wakfs Administration a grant to provide 
a teacher who should teach it in its purity in the Azhar. 1 

Considerable attention has been given here to these at- 
tempted reforms in the Azhar, because of the importance 
which they assumed in the mind of Muhammad ' Abduh, the 
hopes which he built upon them for a general reform of 
Islam, and the efforts which he expended during the last ten 
years of his life in seeking to attain his objectives. Unfortun- 
ately, however, the amount of permanent success which he 
achieved was not at all proportionate to the greatness of his 
aims and the energy and sincerity of his endeavours. Some 
achievements were effected, it is true, particularly along 
material lines; but in regard to the more important intel- 
lectual and spiritual aims, the most that can be said is that he 
succeeded in laying foundations upon which later attempts 
may be built. 2 It is not to be concluded that all the Azhar 
people, or even the majority of them, were opposed to all 
reform. Many of the leading spirits of the Azhar were con- 
vinced of the need of it and aided and encouraged Muhammad 

class-room notes of the lectures given in Bairut several years before (these 
notes had been taken by his brother Ilamudah Bey 'Abduh), and had been 
printed. As he delivered the lectures in the Azhar, he added further com- 
ments, additions, and corrections upon the margin. These marginal notes 
were compiled and incorporated into the text by Muhammad Rashid Rida, 
who attended the lectures (Al-Manar, viii. 494), and the work was pub- 
lished as Risalat al-taivhtd in 1315/1897. Beginning with the second edition, 
footnotes were added by Muhammad Rashid Rida. The fifth edition, 
printed in Cairo 1346/1926-7, was carefully revised and further notes added. 
Cf . introduction to the fifth edition. The lectures on the l£ur'an were first 
published in Al-Manar, then separately in book form in 1904, again in 1905, 
and again in 1911. Cf. on the above Horten, Beitrdge, xiii. 99, 100 ; Michel, 
Introd., under ' Bibliographie, i, Ouvrages du Cheikh Mohammed Abdou'. 

1 Tarikh, iii. 259. This teacher began by reading Al-Kdmil, a complete 
treatise on grammar, by Al-Mubarrad (Muhammad ibn Yazid al-Azdlf a.d. 
826-98. Brockelmann, i. 108, 109. 

3 Cf. Mashdhlr, i. 286, In the opinion of Al-Manar (viii. 475), the real 
reform which constitutes the ground of hope for the Azhar in the future, 
consisted in the influence of the lectures delivered by Muhammad 'Abduh 
upon many of those who heard them. 

78 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

c Abduh's efforts so long as he was actively supported by the 
Khedive. 1 But, unfortunately, the favourable attitude of the 
Khedive was changed into one of determined opposition to 
all proposed reforms. Thus the reactionary forces gained the 
upper hand and, finally, Muhammad 'Abduh, despairing of 
success, resigned from the Administrative Committee on 
March 19, 1905, 2 together with his friend c Abd al Karim 
Salman and a third member, Shaikh Al-Sayyid Ahmad al- 
Hanbali. 3 This was the end of Muhammad 'Abduh's con- 
nexion with the Azhar, for his death occurred a few months 
later ; and the Azhar. was permitted to relapse more or less, 
for the time being, into its accustomed and undisturbed ways. 4 

1 Mashdhlr, i. 286, says that the majority of the educated Muslims, 
particularly those of modern education, agreed with Muhammad 'Abduh in 
regard to the need of reformation. He was not the first one to see the need, 
but he was the first one to dare to say so publiely. This is substantially the 
opinion of Al-Mandr (viii. 235, 236). a Tdrikh, iii. 165. 

3 Al-Mandr, viii. 76. These resignations followed that of Shaikh 'All 
al-Biblawi as Shaikh al- Azhar. The Malikite and ShafTite representatives 
had previously resigned. The resignation of Muhammad ' Abduh was entirely 
voluntary ; he was not removed by the Government nor forced to resign by 
the reactionaries. Tdrikh, iii. 179, note. Shaikh Hassunah al-NawawI, 
during his term of office as Shaikh al-Azhar, did not oppose reform but 
simply delayed and postponed, because he thought changes should be intro- 
duced gradually. Tdrikh, iii. 198, note. This seems to have been the 
general feeling, even of those who favoured reform. Tdrikh, iii. 166. Shaikh 
Salim al-Bishri, on the other hand, who was the appointee of the Khedive, 
and who was in office during the process of important changes in the curri- 
culum, opposed everything which the Administrative Committee tried to 
do, and prevented the enforcement of all its enactments. Al-Mandr, viii. 
474, and Tdrikh, i. 493, 494. The Khedive opposed Muhammad c Abduh, 
not only in his reforms in the Azhar, but also in his reforms of the courts and 
of the administration of the Wakfs (religious endowments). The reason for 
the Khedive's opposition, as given in Tdrikh, i. 562-6, was that 'Abduh 
stood in the way of the Khedive's purpose to use the Azhar as a means to 
strengthen his political influence and to turn the funds of the Wakfs into 
a source of support for these aims. 

4 Michel, p. xxxviii, n. 1, refers to further reforms, especially in the 
nature of re -organization of the courses of study, that were undertaken in 
1907. Cf. Enc. Britt., art. 'Egypt, Modern-Education', for reference to this 
attempt at reform, with the additional statement that it met with so much 
opposition that in 1909 it was for the time being abandoned. The agitation 
for reform has been periodically revived since that time. An editorial in the 
Egyptian Gazette for December 3, 1927, states that the question is again 
being discussed and that the Government is reported to intend setting up 
a commission to make recommendations. Few modernizing projects, it 
remarks, encounter such deeply entrenched vested interests as do proposals 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 79 

Mufti of Egypt. 

On June 3, 1899, Muhammad 'Abduh was appointed, by 
recommendation of the Khedive himself, Mufti of all Egypt 
in place of Shaikh Hassunah al-Nawawi who had resigned. 1 
As holder of this office, by virtue of his appointment by the 
State, he was the supreme official interpreter of the canon law 
of Islam (the Sharfah) for the whole country and his 'fatwas ', 
or legal opinions, touching any matters that were referred to 
him, were authoritative and final. 2 Most of his predecessors 
in the office had considered themselves to be jurisconsults to 
the departments of the Government only, and gave no 
decisions except on matters referred to them by these depart- 
ments. Requests from individuals for a deliverance on any 
subject were generally ignored. 3 For this reason, when 

for changing Al-Azhar. An account of proposed changes is also to be found 
in Art. Al-Azhar To-day and To-morrow, by S. A. Morrison in Moslem World, 
vol. xvi, April, 1926. These anticipated changes were enacted in 1930. 
See Al-Hilal, November, 1931, pp. 60 sqq. 

1 This date corresponds to the sixth from the end of Muharram, a.h. 1317 
Al-Manar, viii. 487; Tarikh, i. 602. Shaikh Hassunah had succeeded 
Shaikh Muhammad al-'AbbasI al-Mahdi on the death of the latter in 1897, 
after having been his deputy for about two years during his final illness. 
Shaikh Muhammad al- c Abbasi, besides having been Shaikh al-Azhar from 
1870-87, except for a brief interim in 1882-3, had been also Mufti of Egypt 
from 1264/1847 until his death, except for a brief interim in 1887 when 
Shaikh Al-Banna had taken his place. Mashahir, ii. 186-9, account written 
by his son Shaikh Muhammad 'Abd al-Khalik al-Hifni. Muhammad 'Abduh 
was succeeded as Mufti by Shaikh 'Abd al-K!adir al-Rafi 'I, who died, how- 
ever, on the day when his appointment was to have been announced 
officially. Al Manar, viii. 759, 760. 

3 There is but one Mufti for all Egypt. He is thus a general jurisconsult 
for the whole country and particularly for the State. He is sometimes 
known as the Grand Mufti, because canon lawyers (faklh, pi. fukaha), in 
general, have the right to give ' fatwas ' of limited range and authority on 
matters referred to them by their clients, and are therefore in a sense 
'muftis', that is, capable of giving a 'fatwa'. Even the Grand Mufti has the 
right, only by his knowledge of previous decisions, to answer specific ques- 
tions submitted to him. He is a 'mujtahid bi al-fatwa', i.e. 'a mujtahid by 
legal opinion', not a 'mujtahid mutlak', i.e. an 'absolute mujtahid', such as 
were the great legists who formulated the system of canon law from the 
sources. Cf. Macdonald, Enc. Islam, art. 'Idjtihad'. 

3 Tarikh, iii. 279; i. 646. In official 'fatwas', such as confirmation of the 
death sentence passed by the Criminal Court, or questions of personal 
status referred to the Mufti by the Ministry of Justice, &c, decision must 
be given according to the Hanifite code. An unofficial ' fatwa ' follows the 
code of the person requesting it. Tarikh, i. 646. 

80 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

Muhammad ' Abduh was appointed to the position, although 
it is the highest to which a Muslim jurist can aspire, he feared 
that it would be too specialized and limited in its scope, and 
would therefore offer few opportunities for general public 
service. 1 But he succeeded in clothing the office, as he did 
every other office which he filled, with new dignity and 
importance. 2 He opened its doors to individual appeals for 
decisions, 3 and thus transformed the position from one of 
negligible importance, so far as the general public were con- 
cerned, to one of general prestige and influence. 4 This office 
he continued to hold until his death. 6 

The many 'fatwas 5 which he delivered, during his tenure 
of office, on questions arising out of the daily contact of the 
Muslims of Egypt with the peoples of other religions and other 
nations, and with the conditions of modern civilization, and, 
in particular, questions arising from the circumstance that 
the Egyptians had in the course of events become amenable 
to laws other than the canon law of Islam, were characterized 
by a spirit of liberality and a freedom from bondage to tradi- 
tion and a desire to render the religion of Islam entirely 
adaptable to the requirements of modern civilization. But 
this liberality of view only aroused against him the bitter 
opposition of those who held to the old ways. Two of these 
' fatwas ' are best known : one declaring it lawful for Muslims 
to eat the flesh of animals slain by Jews and Christians ; the 
other declaring it likewise lawful for Muslims to deposit their 
money in the Postal Savings Banks where it would draw 
interest. 6 These 'fatwas' spread his fame throughout the 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 487 ; Tdrikh, i. 646. 2 Tdrlkh, iii. 279. 

3 Ibid., p. 279. 4 Ibid., p. 55. 

6 This is expressly stated in Mashahir, i. 282; by Michel, p. xxxviii; also 
by Goldziher, Koranauslegung, p. 321. It is further, without exception, 
either stated or inferred in all the newspaper accounts of his death, in 
Tdrikh, iii. in all references to him as the ' Mufti ' . Horten, on the other hand, 
states (Beitrage, xiii. 114) that a few months before his death he was re- 
moved from being Mufti, basing his statement on his interpretation of a 
remark in Tdrlkh, iii. 183 : 'He was removed from his office by reason of the 
efforts of the 'Ulama who were opposed to his purposes and ideas.' The 
reference is, however, to his appointment to the Administrative Committee 
of the Azhar, from which he finally resigned as has been seen above. 

6 Tdrlkh, iii. 84, 167, 279; Michel, p. xxxviii; Beitrage, xiv. 75. A third 
one is also referred to in the above statements of Tdrlkh, also in Mashahir, i. 

Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 81 

Muslim world and made him one of the leading figures of his 
day, whose opinion was sought on many subjects by people 
of other lands than Egypt. 1 

But he did not confine his activities to the deliverance of 
legal opinions. One of the outstanding services which he 
rendered was his investigation of the ' Mahkamahs ', or courts 
dealing with matters of personal status, administering their 
decisions on the basis of the Shari'ah. 2 It was within his 
province as Mufti to have special oversight over these courts, 
and his own concern for their efficiency and the respect in 
which they should be held led him to devote special attention 
to them. The Government gave him a free hand in making 
his investigations, and full authority. 3 He travelled through- 
out the country, both Upper and Lower Egypt, visiting every 
court, whether provincial or district, and ascertained the 
exact state of each court and its officials by personal contact. 4 
The state of inefficiency into which the courts had fallen he 
found to be due mainly to the incompetence of the judges and 
other officials, a failure to follow the proper judicial procedure, 
the low salaries of the judges and officials, and the inappro- 
priateness and unsuit ability of the court -rooms. 5 He drew 
up a report embodying all his findings concerning the present 
deplorable state of the courts, and his recommendations 
regarding the steps to be taken for their improvement and 
the better training of the judges. This report he presented 
to the Department of Justice, which gave the report all due 
consideration and took steps looking towards putting its 
recommendations gradually into effect. 6 The Legislative 

287, namely, one permitting Muslims to wear Christian forms of dress, i.e. 
European. The basis mentioned for these decisions is the absence of any 
specification in the l£ur'an prohibiting these things, especially to those who 
are required to associate with Europeans. Cf. Tarikh, iii. 167. For text of 
the first and third of these 'fatwaV, and others, see Tarikh, i. 646 sqq. 
1 Al-Manar viii. 487. 2 Cf. above, p. 68, n, 4. 

3 Tarikh, iii. 165, note. He justified his investigations on the ground that 
he was himself a shaikh of the Hanifite rite and a member of the council 
which chooses the judges, hence he must know the state of the acting 
officials. Moreover, his connexion with the Azhar gave him opportunity to 
train successors when they should leave office. Tarikh, iii. 262. 

4 Ibid., pp. 248, 262. 5 Ibid., p. 248. 

8 Al-Manar, viii. 487; Tarikh, iii. 248, 263; i. 605 sqq. Cf. Michel, 
p. xxxvi; Beitrage, xiv. 74, 75. The report which was presented to the 

82 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

Council also at this time interested itself in the reform of the 
courts, and, as a result of its recommendations, the Govern- 
ment appointed two committees under the chairmanship of 
Muhammad 'Abduh ; one, consisting of the leading scholars 
(*Ulama), was commissioned to collect all the decisions of law 
necessary for the work of the judges ; the second, consisting 
of the most noted 'Ulama and men of affairs, was directed 
to outline a project for a school for judges. 1 r Abduh presented 
his report on this project a few days before leaving Cairo for 
Alexandria, where he was overtaken with his last illness. 2 

By virtue of being Mufti, he became also a member of the 
Superior Council of the Wakfs Administration. He secured 
the appointment of a committee, of which he was a member, 
to study the matter of improving the public religious services 
in the mosques. 3 He himself drew up a report embodying 
his proposals for reform, the chief items of which were the 
classification of the officials and attendants of the mosques 
(imams, Jchatibs, mu'azzins, &c), securing a better class of such 
employees by requiring that the leaders of the public prayer 
services (imams) and the preachers in the mosques (khatlbs) 
should be drawn from the teachers in the Azhar, turning the 
services of these to better account by requiring them to give 
instruction to those who attend the mosques, and an increase 
of salary for all those employed in the mosques and ceme- 
teries. 4 This report was approved by the Council but was 
not put into effect, except in a partial way, because of the 
interference of the Khedive. 5 

Member of the Legislative Council. 

Following his appointment as Mufti, Muhammad 'Abduh 
was, on June 25, 1899, appointed a permanent member of the 

Government is given in Al-Mandr, ii, in sections, the first page of each 
section being as follows: 577, 593, 609, 625, 648, 663. The introduction is 
given on p. 759. Text also in Tdrikh, i. 608 sqq. l Tdrikh, iii. 238, 263. 

2 Ibid., pp. 248, 263. The School for Kadis was actually established in 
1907, Enc. Britt,, art. 'Egypt, Modern-Education'. 

3 Al-Mandr, viii. 488 ; Tdrikh, iii. 242 ; i. 630 sqq. 

* Tdrikh, iii. 261. 'Proposals for Reform of Mosques', Al-Mandr, viii. 
307-14; Tdrikh, i. 633 sqq. ; Beitrage, xiv. 76. 

6 Al-Mandr, viii. 307. For detailed account of the opposition of the 
Khedive and the measures which he employed, see Tdrikh, i. 558 sqq. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 83 

Legislative Council and on June 29 attended his first session. 1 
Representative government was as yet in its early stages in 
Egypt. This fact was reflected alike in the limited powers of 
the Council (it exercised at this time only an advisory capac- 
ity), in its haphazard methods of conducting its business, its 
timidity of action, and in the suspicion and misunderstanding 
which it entertained towards the Government, and no less in 
the lack of confidence and consideration displayed by the 
latter towards the Council. 2 Muhammad ( Abduh was able to 
render valuable service to the Council. He proved himself an 
able parliamentarian, a convincing orator, a skilled com- 
mittee-man, an experienced administrator, and a discreet and 
well-informed adviser on all matters that came before it. He 
soon became its leading member whose opinion on every 
question was heard with respect. He was chairman of the 
most important committees which considered matters sent 
down by the Government, and the head of every delegation 
which was appointed by the Council to confer with the 
Government. Under his leadership a spirit of mutual under- 
standing and confidence came to prevail between the two 
bodies and the prestige of the Council was sensibly increased, 
both in the opinion of the Government and of the country as 
a whole. He devoted much of his time to these duties, 
believing that in so doing he was promoting the ends of 
representative government, in that he was helping to create 
a tradition of efficiency and public-mindedness in the present 
Council which would descend to later ones, and was at the 
same time helping to educate the nation at large in a more 
intelligent participation in its own affairs. 3 

Member of the Muslim Benevolent Society. 

Muhammad 'Abduh had been impressed, during his travels 
in European countries, by the extent to which charitable 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 488; Tarikh, i. 719 sqq. ; iii. 247. 

2 Al-Manar ; viii. 488, 489; Tarikh, iii. 247, 248; i. 721 sqq. Cf. Beitrage, 
xiii. 103; Michel, p. xxxvii. In 1913 the Council was replaced by an 
Assembly having more extended powers, being allowed a deliberative voice 
in certain questions. When martial law was declared in 1914 the Assembly 
adjourned sine die. With the granting of the Constitution on October 31, 
1922, a new parliamentary body was organized consisting of a Chamber of 
Deputies and a Senate. 3 Al-Manar, viii. 489; Tarikh, iii. 242. 

84 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

institutions had been developed in those lands and the impor- 
tance attached to public co-operation in practical benevo- 
lences. Here, he came to believe, was one of the directions 
in which Muslim peoples might commendably follow the lead 
of Christian nations. While the religion of Islam enjoins 
private giving of alms and inculcates concern for the poor, 
organized and corporate effort on behalf of the needy and 
unfortunate has never nourished to any great extent in 
Muslim countries, even to the present day. 1 In order there- 
fore to 'accustom Muslims to unite and to co-operate in good 
works and in service of the public and to awaken in the hearts 
of the rich a feeling of compassion for the poor ' 2 he took the 
lead in the establishment of the Muslim Benevolent Society 
in 1310/1892 and became one of its charter members. 3 The 
immediate objects of the society were to provide financial 
assistance for Muslims who were unable to gain their own 
livelihood and to found schools for children of the poor who 
could not pay for their children's education. He co-operated 
most actively with the other founders of the society in secur- 
ing for it the support and assistance of wealthy and influential 
people, in organizing and directing its activities and in defend- 
ing it during its early and critical stages from the attacks of 
those who attributed to it ulterior political designs. In 
1318/1900 he was made its president and held this office 
until his death. 4 During this period he even increased his 
efforts on its behalf. 5 

Efforts on behalf of a Literary Revival. 

Reference has already been made to his efforts while editor 
of the Journal Officiel and again while connected with the 
Azhar, 6 to encourage a correct use of the Arabic language 
according to the standards of the days when Arabic culture 
was at its best. This was no mere excess of academic zeal. 

1 This is the sense of Muhammad Rashid Rida's statement in Al-Manar, 
viii. 490. He says that such effort does not exist in Muslim countries except 
in India and Egypt, under the shadow of British freedom, and even there 
such co-operation is still in its infancy. 2 Ibid., p. 491. 

3 Ibid., p. 490 ; Tarikh, Hi. 243 ; i. 726 sqq. 4 Tarikh, in. 243. 

5 For results of his efforts see Al-Manar, viii. 491 ; Tarikh, iii. 244. 

6 Cf. above, pp. 47, 77. 

Muhammad "Abdmh: Biography 85 

The Arabic language, he maintained, is the basis of the 
Islamic religion. 1 It is not possible for the Muslim community 
to be in a flourishing condition unless its language is flourish- 
ing. 2 Therefore the language must be reformed as a means to 
the reform of religion. 'For in the reform of our language', 
he had said in an address to the scholars of Tunis, ' is the one 
single means to the reform of our religious beliefs. It is 
ignorance of their language on the part of Muslims that has 
prevented them from understanding what is contained in the 
books of their religion and the sayings of the earlier genera- 
tions. For in the classical Arabic tongue there are stores of 
learning and treasures of culture which are inaccessible except 
through acquiring ability to use the language.' 3 But to secure 
a revival of the language by means of the books that were 
in use in the Azhar, was, he believed, impossible. 4 It was 
necessary therefore to revive the works of the great Imams 
and scholars which were written when Muslim learning was 

To this end a society was founded in 1900, called 'The 
Society for the Revival of the Arabic Sciences', of which 
Muhammad c Abduh was president. 5 Through his efforts two 
important works on rhetoric were edited, after manuscripts 
for this purpose had been secured from other countries. 6 
With the aid of Shaikh Muhammad al-Shankiti 7 he edited a 
monumental work on Arabic philology in seventeen volumes. 8 
Following this, a beginning was made in editing the Muwattd 
of the Imam Malik, for which Muhammad 'Abduh secured 
manuscripts from Tunis, Fez, and elsewhere. 9 He also gave 

1 Tarlkh, iii. 259. 3 Al-Manar, viii. 491. 

3 Tafslr surat al-'asr wa khitab l amm ft al-tarbiyah wa al-ta lim, p. 91, 
2nd ed., Al- Manar Press, Cairo, 1330/1911. 4 Al-Manar, viii. 491. 

5 Al-Manar, vii. 491, and Tarlkh, iii. 274 ; i. 753 sqq. 

6 These works were Asrdr al-balaghah and Dald'il al-i l jaz. by 'Abd al- 
l£ahir al-Jurjanl (d. a.d. 1078). Cf. Brockelmann, i. 287, 288, nrs. iv. and v. 

7 Al-Manar, viii. 491 ; Tarlkh, iii. 243. Al-Shankiti was a Syrian scholar 
who was prevailed upon by Muhammad ' Abduh to remain in Egypt for this 
work, Cf. latter reference. He died a few months before the death of 
Muhammad 'Abduh. Tarlkh, iii. 214. 

8 This was Al-Mukhassas, by Ibn Sldah, the Spanish philologist, a.d. 1 007- 
66 ; Brockelmann, i. 309. 

9 Al-Manar, viii. 491. This book is there called Al-Mudawwanah. Cf. 
Beitrdge, xiii. 113. Cf. also the correspondence of Muhammad 'Abduh with 

86 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

his encouragement to all who by authorship or translation of 
foreign works into Arabic, were helping to bring about the 
literary revival for which he was working. 1 

Defence of Islam. 

Following the example of his master Jamalal-Dln, Muham- 
mad ' Abduh took up the defence of Islam against attacks and 
aspersions whenever occasion demanded or opportunity 
offered. The two outstanding instances of this are his replies 
to M. Gabriel Hanotaux, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
and Farah Antun, editor of the Arabic magazine Al-Jami'ah. 
His incisive and vigorous replies to both of these opponents 
won him additional fame throughout the world of Islam as 
its ablest modern apologist. 

The article by M. Hanotaux appeared in the Journal de 
Paris early in 1900 under the caption : 'Face to Face with 
Islam and the Muslim Question'. This article was translated 
into Arabic and published by the Arabic newspaper Al- 
Mu'ayyad. 2 The immediate concern of M. Hanotaux was to 
arouse the French Government and the French people to 
a realization of the differences which separate the Muslim 
peoples in the French colonial possessions from their own 
Christian points of view, and to urge the Government, after 
investigation and consultation, Ho draw up a brief political 
document containing a statement of the principles governing 
their relations with the world of Islam'. 3 To emphasize the 
differences between the two religions, or rather the two civili- 
zations, the one Aryan in origin, he maintained, the other 
Semitic, he discussed their respective points of view on two 

the Sultan 'Abd al-'Aziz of Morocco and Mawlai Idris b. Mawlai 'Abd al- 
Hadi, Grand I£adi and teacher in the University of Fez, on the subject of 
securing manuscripts of this work, Tarikh, ii. 545, 546. 

1 The newspaper, Al-Watan, attributes to the influence of Muhammad 
f Abduh the translation of Les Misdrables into Arabic under the title Al- 
Bu'asa, i.e. ' The Unfortunates', by the noted poet Haf iz Ibrahim. The trans- 
lator dedicated his work to Muhammad 'Abduh, 'the resource of the de- 
spairing and the resort of the unfortunate'. Tarikh, ii. 553, letter of the 
translator to Muhammad 'Abduh, who replies. Cf . also other letters of the 
latter to authors and translators, pp. 551-4. 

2 Tarikh, ii. 382. M. Hanotaux's first article is given pp. 382-95, and 
Muhammad 'Abduh' s reply to it pp. 395-411. See lengthy discussion of 
these two cases and others, Tarikh, i. 789 sqq. s Tartkh, ii. 393. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 87 

fundamental questions of religion, namely, the nature of God, 
and predestination or the question of man's power of choice. 
In regard to the nature of God, Christian belief in the Trinity 
or, in other words, God's immanence in human life, has tended 
to an appreciation of man's worth and his nearness to God, 
while the Muslim belief in God's unity and transcendence has 
tended towards the thought of man's insignificance and help- 
lessness. In the same manner, the Christian idea of man's free 
will has led him to the active use of means and self-depen- 
dence, while the Muslim doctrine of predestination has caused 
him to submit blindly to a law that knows no change. 

As soon as Muhammad f Abduh read this article in Ah 
Mu'ayyad he sent off a reply at once to the same newspaper. 

He criticized, in his reply, M. Hanotaux's reading of history. 
The present culture of Europe did not come from the original 
Aryan settlers ; and as for the Greeks, whom M. Hanotaux called 
the teachers of Europe, they derived their civilization from con- 
tact with Semitic nations. When Europe knew no other civiliza- 
tion than that of war and bloodshed, Islam came to it bringing 
the arts and sciences and learning of the Persians and the Aryan 
peoples of Asia, of the Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks, after they 
had purified these of the impurities introduced by the rulers of 
western nations. 1 The truth is that all nations borrow from one 
another according to need, and the western Aryan has borrowed 
from the eastern Semitic more than the depressed East is taking 
to-day from the independent West. 2 This is, then, no question of 
civilization but only one of religion. 

The doctrine of the unity of God, protested Muhammad ' Abduh, 
is not a Semitic belief but a Hebrew belief only, for the Phoeni- 
cians, Arabs, and other Semites were heathen. 3 Discussions of 
predestination, to come to the particular questions raised, are not 
peculiar to any one religion. Further, there is no agreement 
among Christians on the question of man's free will, as witness the 
Thomists, or Dominicans, who are ' Compulsionists ' (Jabariyyah) 
and the Jesuits who are ' Free-willers ' (Kadariyyah). The question 
is not really Semitic but Aryan in origin. 4 The Kur'an denies 
compulsion and, in about forty-six verses, teaches 'acquisition' 
and free will ; and, in this spirit, the Prophet and the Companions 
and the early Muslims were active in bringing about that spread 

1 Tarlkh, ii. 397. 9 Ibid., p. 399. 8 Ibid., pp. 400. 4 Ibid., p. 401. 

88 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

of Islam of which M. Hanotaux complains. 1 True, sloth and indif- 
ference did later take hold of Muslim peoples through the influence 
of certain views which were affected by some of the §ufis, views 
which are also Aryan benefits, coming as they did from India and 
Persia. 2 

The doctrine of the unity and transcendence of God, turning to 
the second question, 'Abduh showed historically, by a comparison 
of ideas of God existing among primitive Africans, and among 
Buddhists and Brahmans with those of the Greek philosophers 
and the ancient Egyptian priesthood, to be the highest form of 
reasonable belief attainable by the intellect, whereas, in belief in 
the Trinity, reason has no place, as Christians confess. 3 The 
strength of the Christian appeal to a heathen world, up to the time 
of Constantine, was the transcendence of God. Only then there 
entered the idea of human comparisons which brought in evils 
which persisted until the Reformation. 4 

When the reply of 'Abduh appeared, the newspaper Al- 
Ahrdm came out with a defence of M. Hanotaux on the 
ground that his article had been imperfectly translated. 
When the latter read this article in the French edition of 
Al-Ahrdm he wrote a second article in the Journal, which 
Al-Ahrdm also translated, under the title 'Islam Again'. It 
appeared on May 21, 1900. In it Hanotaux explains that he 
had intended no attack upon Islam but had rather had in 
view only respect and moderation, conciliation and concord. 5 
Later when the editor of Al-Ahrdm was in Paris, he secured 
an interview with M. Hanotaux on the questions under dis- 
cussion and published the results in his paper on July 16, 
1900. 6 M. Hanotaux reiterates all absence of intention to 
attack Islam. He cannot, however, affirm that the East is as 
far advanced as European governments in justice, freedom, 
and civilization, nor does he believe that in the present union 
of Church and State in Islam is to be found a policy that will 
make for the advancement of the East. Europe had to learn 
to separate the two for her own good. 

To this Muhammad 'Abduh replied in three articles pub- 

1 Tarlkh, ii. 402. 2 Ibid., p. 403. 

3 Ibid., p. 406. 4 Ibid., p. 407. 

6 Ibid., p. 411. The article is given pp. 452-8. 
6 Ibid., pp. 458-67. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 89 

lished in Al-Mu'ayyad, 1 He summoned Muslims to take to 
heart the admonitions of M. Hanotaux concerning their 
weaknesses, that they may fit themselves for competition 
with Europe. He explained the objectives of Pan-Islamism 
to which M. Hanotaux had referred, as not political but 
religious, an attempt to summon Muslim peoples to reform 
their own conditions through the only means that promised 
success, namely, religious reform. He admitted with much 
frankness the weakness and defects of Muslims which this 
movement seeks to reform, and maintained that, had the 
Muslim rulers of recent days been princes of the Church as 
well as of the State, they could not have openly contravened 
religion in those acts of oppression and excess and prodigality 
that have brought woe to Muslim countries and deprived 
them of their dearest possession — their independence. 2 

His second defence was called forth by an article, written 
by the Christian editor of the magazine Al-Jdmi'dh, concern- 
ing the great Muslim philosopher of Spain, Ibn Rushd 
(Averroes). In the course of his discussion, the writer drew 
a comparison between Islam and Christianity in the matter 
of tolerance towards learning and philosophy, asserting that 
Christianity has been more tolerant towards scholars and 
philosophers and has persecuted them less than has Islam. 
This has been due to the fact that the union of the civil and 
religious authority in Islam has made a tolerant attitude 
more difficult than in Christianity ; and a practical proof of 
the greater tolerance of Christianity is offered, in that learning 
has actually triumphed over persecution in Christian Europe 
and has produced our modern civilization, whereas, in Islam, 

1 Tarikh, ii. 467-84. The first of these articles appeared in Al-Mu'ayyad 
under date of July 25, 1900. Cf. Al-Islam wa al-radd 'aid muntakidlh ('Islam 
and the Reply to its Critics'), Tawfik Literary Press, Cairo, 1343/1924, 1925, 
p. 62, note. This work includes the whole series of articles and interviews of 
M. Hanotaux, and Muhammad 'Abduh's replies. It contains also four other 
articles by Muhammad 'Abduh, reproduced from his book Risalat al-Taw- 
hid, and one by Jamal al-DIn from his book Al-radd 'aid al-dahriyyln 
('Refutation of the Materialists'). It contains also an article by Muhammad 
Bey Farid Wajdi, from his book Al-Madaniyyah wa al-Islam ('Civilization 
and Islam' ), and a series of articles which appeared in Al-Mu'ayyad during 
January, 1900, concerning the Muslim Conference on Education that con. 
vened in Calcutta, India, on December 27, 1899. 

2 Tarikh, ii. 479. 

90 Muhammad 'Abduh; Biography 

it has not triumphed even to the present day. The article 
also attributed to Muslim scholars the denial of the efficacy 
of secondary causes and asserted that Ibn Rushd was in 
reality an unbeliever. 1 

'Abduh, in his reply, dealt with four points which he con- 
sidered had been raised by these assertions. 

(1) Muslims have been tolerant towards their own philosophers 
but not towards those of other faiths. In reply, he shows the 
tolerance of Muslims towards all races and religions by an appeal 
to non-Muslim historians and philosophers. (2) The sects of Islam 
have fought with one another for the sake of their religious beliefs. 
This he meets with a denial. (3) The nature of Islam prevents 
tolerance towards learning while that of Christianity encourages it. 
This he considers the most essential point and he discusses it at 
length. He takes up one by one the fundamental positions of 
Christianity which indicate its nature, and likewise those of Islam, 
comparing and contrasting the two and showing the results and 
tendencies of each. (4) Europeans have come to enjoy the fruits 
of modern civilization by grace of the religious tolerance of 
Christianity. His reply to this is to show how Christianity has 
persecuted not only its own scholars but also the adherents of 
other faiths, and further to show what Islam has contributed to 
learning and civilization and the protection afforded by the great 
Muslim rulers to scholars of their own and other faiths. He then 
discusses at length the causes which have brought about the 
present-day rigidity of Islam as a system, and its deleterious 
effects upon the condition of Muslims to-day, and concludes with 
a consideration of the philosophy of Ibn Rushd and his attitude, 
and that of Muslim theologians, regarding matter and existence, 
with reference to the question raised by the writer to whom he is 

Unfinished Plans. 

The resignation of Muhammad ' Abduh from the Admini- 
strative Committee of the Azhar had defeated more than one 
of his plans. He had acceded to the suggestion of Shaikh 

1 Al-Isldm wa al-Nasrdniyyah ma' al-Hlm wa al-madaniyyah ('Islam and 
Christianity and their Respective Attitudes towards Learning and Civiliza- 
tion'), Al-Manar Press, Cairo, 3rd ed., 1341/1923, pp. 4, 5, of the introduc- 
tion, and pp. 7, 8, 9, in which Muhammad 'Abduh summarizes the matters 
under discussion. The reply of 'Abduh first appeared as articles in Al- 
Manar, and were then published under the above title. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 91 

c Ali al-Biblawi, then Shaikh al-Azhar, to give lectures in the 
Azhar on the history of Islam, and proposed to write a text- 
book on the subject according to modern methods. 1 When 
his connexion with the Azhar ceased, this project was 
abandoned. Moreover, when he had found himself unable to 
contend with the current of opposition in the Azhar, he 
realized that his hopes for making the Azhar a centre for the 
training of men who would reform and revive Islam had 
ended in failure. He then conceived the plan of founding 
a new institution for this purpose that could be developed 
according to his own ideas. A tract of land was donated by 
a rich Pasha who had been won to sympathy with the idea, 
and a beginning was made in preparing plans for the institu- 
tion ; but these plans were interrupted by his death. 2 His 
commentary on the Kur'an was also left incomplete at his 
death. 3 

He had planned also the formation of a company for the 
publication in Cairo of a daily Arabic newspaper of a model 
character, with carefully chosen staff of editors and contribu- 
tors. The chief emphasis was to be upon purposes of general 
reform and the correct and truthful reporting of news items, 
and attention to political matters was to be limited and 
restricted. Plans had progressed so far that a beginning in 
publication was in sight, but the whole matter was brought 
to an end with his death. 4 He had also purposed making a 
tour of visitation among the Muslims of India, Persia, and 
Russia, that he might become acquainted at first-hand with 
their conditions as he had with conditions of Muslims in the 
west. 5 

Final Illness and Death. 

The illness to which he succumbed overtook him at the 
home of his friend, Muhammad Bey Rasim in Seffer, Ramleh, 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 899. 

3 This tract was donated by Ahmad Pasha al-Minshawi. Al-Manar, viii. 
895. The school was later founded by Muhammad Rashid Rida. Cf . below 
on 'Institute of Propaganda and Guidance'. 

s His commentary ends with Surah iv. 125. Al-Manur, xxviii (1927), 654. 
Cf. below, on 'Manar Commentary'. 

4 Al-Manar, viii. 896. 6 Ibid., p. 896. 

92 Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 

a suburb of Alexandria, on the eve of his leaving for Europe. 1 
His malady had been one of long standing but serious results 
were not feared from it until about a week before his death, 2 
although it had appeared in serious form in an illness which 
had befallen him during a trip to the Sudan some time before 
the final occurrences in the Azhar which led to his resignation. 3 
He had expected to go to Europe for treatment and then 
proceed to Morocco. 4 But it soon became evident that travel 
was impossible, and after a few days' illness, the end came at 
five o'clock on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 11, 1905 (the 
eighth of Jumada I, a.h. 1323). 5 

On the following morning an impressive funeral cortege 
accompanied the body to the railroad station. From there a 
special train, furnished by the Government, conveyed the 
body to Cairo, stopping at a number of the larger cities and 
towns en route to permit the assembled crowds to pay their 
respects. 6 At Cairo another cortege, more impressive even 
than the one in Alexandria, made up of high government 
officials, diplomatic representatives, detachments of the army 
and the mounted police, the leading scholars, official repre- 
sentatives of the various religious communities, members of 
the wealthy and influential classes, students from the Azhar, 
and a vast concourse of people from all classes and religious 
faiths, conveyed the body to the Azhar Mosque where the 
funeral prayers were said. 7 No eulogies were pronounced 
in the Azhar as had formerly been done on the occasion of the 
death of leading shaikhs of the Azhar until Muhammad 
'Abduh had put an end to the custom. 8 Following the con- 

1 Tarzkh, iii. 9, 78. 

2 Ibid., pp. 76, 151. The disease was cancer of the kidney. 

s That is to say, during the preceding winter. Tdrlkh, iii. 179 note. 

4 Ibid., p. 151. 

s Ibid., pp. 9, 60, 151 ; Al-Mandr, viii. 378. Some of the newspapers 
(e.g. Al-Ahrdm, Tarikh, iii. 14), remarked on the coincidence that Reuter's 
telegrams reported on the same day the death of Sir William Muir, the 
eminent authority on Islam, and Dr. Sidney Smith of America, a friend of 
Muhammad 'Abduh's. 

6 ' Tarikh, iii. 76. 7 Ibid., p. 40. 

8 Ibid., pp. 40, 171. The absence from the funeral procession of other 
innovations (bidcf) which he had opposed was also noted in the newspaper 
accounts, such as the absence of Kur'an readers or chanters, and those 
bearing copies of the Kur'an or carrying incense burners. On the occasion 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 93 

elusion of the brief service at the mosque, the procession 
resumed its way to the cemetery. 1 Here the burial took place, 
and immediately thereafter Hasan Pasha ( Asim dismissed 
the assemblage without allowing opportunity for the presen- 
tation of eulogistic remarks. 2 On the fortieth day after the 
death, according to custom, a memorial service was held, 
however ; and on this occasion a great crowd again gathered 
in the cemetery. Six speakers carefully chosen because of 
their connexion with the deceased and their familiarity with 
his aims and views, reviewed various phases of his life and 
spoke in eulogy of him and his work. 3 

Character and Influence. 

With the death of Muhammad 'Abduh, all the virulent 
criticisms, violent attacks, and covert intrigues that had 
centred about his person and been directed against his 
activities, 4 and which seem to have increased in intensity 
during his last two years, 5 were silenced and rebuked in the 
widespread and very general acknowledgement of the irre- 
parable loss which Egypt and the cause of Islam had sus- 
tained in his death. 6 Differences of opinion and even dif- 
ferences of religion were forgotten as Muslims, Jews, and 
Christians united to pay honour to one whom all now 
recognized as a genuine patriot, an exceptional scholar, and 
a courageous and great -minded leader and reformer. 7 

He undoubtedly possessed many of the essential qualities 
of leadership. In physical appearance he is described as 
squarely and strongly built, although not above the average 
height, heavily bearded, with piercing glance and sonorous 

of the death of his mother, Muhammad 'Abduh had forbidden these prac- 
tices. Ibid., p. 171, note. 

1 To the cemetery called 'I£arafat al-mujawirin*. Ibid., p. 40. 

2 Ibid., pp. 40, 171. 

3 These speakers were chosen beforehand, partly because a great many 
persons wished to express in this public way their praise of the departed 
leader. The speakers who reviewed his life and work were Hasan Pasha 
( Asim, Hasan Pasha 'Abd al-Razik, Shaikh Ahmad Abu Khatwah, and 
I£asim Bey Amln. The other two speakers composed and recited elegiac 
poems : these were Hafiz Ibrahim and Hifni Bey Nasif . Tarikh, iii. 236, 237 ; 
i. 1050, 1051. 4 Cf. Koranauslegung, p. 323. 

5 Tarikh, iii. 84. ° Ibid., p. 10. 7 Ibid., p. 60. 

94 Muhammad "Abduh: Biography 

voice. 1 In disposition he was excitable and quick tempered. 
He was a fluent and convincing speaker, excelling in extem- 
poraneous address, and his use of the Arabic, both in speech 
and in writing, was notable for its elegance and its eloquence. 
His memory was unusually retentive and his intellectual 
powers of unquestionable superiority. He was an indefatig- 
able worker and displayed practical ability and administra- 
tive capacity in many different fields. 

His attainments in learning placed him in the forefront of 
Muslim scholars of his day and won him wide recognition 
throughout the Muslim world. He was deeply versed in all 
the fields of Muslim learning, philosophy, theology, Kur'an 
interpretation, jurisprudence, traditions. His acquaintance 
with Arabic literature was very wide and thorough and 
moulded his own literary style, and was turned oy him to 
practical account in teaching and in editing important literary 
works. He was interested to an unusual degree in the history 
of Islam. He not only studied and commented on Ibn 
Khaldiin's great history, but also devoted the introductory 
section of his Risalat al-tawhid to an historical review of the 
development of Islam, in which he evinces a soundness of 
historical judgement that is not common among Muslim 
scholars. 2 In the philosophical portions of his works he 
showed himself to have been, as Professor Horten thinks, 'no 
Avicenna, not even a gifted philosopher'; 3 still it must be 
said, as the same scholar acknowledges, that in his attempt 
to relegate the traditional philosophy of Islam to the back- 
ground and to introduce a modern philosophy, and likewise 

1 Descriptions of his physical appearance and characteristics and esti- 
mates of his character and work are found in Mashahir, i. 283 sqq. ; Al- 
Manar, viii. 536 sqq., 901 ; Tdrikh, iii. 45 sqq., from Al-Mukattam, one of the 
leading newspapers of Cairo ; ibid,, pp. 96 sqq., from the Arabic magazine 
Al-Diya, edited by the Syrian scholar, Shaikh Ibrahim al-Yaziji, a personal 
friend of Muhammad 'Abduh; ibid., pp. 264 sqq., memorial address of 
I£asim Bey Amin ; ibid., pp. 101 sqq., from the Arabic magazine of Cairo, Al- 
Muktatif. These are the most important accounts, although practically all 
the newspapers and magazines of that date gave much space to records of 
his life and work. 

3 Risalat al-tawhid, 5th ed., 1346/1926-7, pp. 5-25. In the same work, he 
has a concluding section on ' The spread of Islam with a rapidity the like of 
which has not been known in history, and the causes of it', p. 201 sqq. 

3 Beitrage, xiv. 83. 

Muhammad *Abduh: Biography 95 

in his attempt to restate the theology of Islam in terms which 
are more consonant with modern ways of thinking, he 'ac- 
complished all that could have been expected in the not 
exactly favourable circumstances'. 1 

His acquaintance with works of European scholars in 
various fields was also not inconsiderable. His introduction 
to them was acquired through translated works. But when 
already past forty years of age he learned French that he 
might read such works at first-hand, and thereafter he read 
them persistently. His interest was centred chiefly in works 
of sociology, ethics, history, philosophy, and education. 2 He 
was a great admirer of Herbert Spencer, the English philo- 
sopher, whom he visited in England, 3 and translated his work 
on ' Education' from a French version into Arabic in order 
that he might profit by his views in drafting his plans for the 
reform of Egyptian schools. 4 His admiration, in like manner, 
for Tolstoi led him to write a letter to the great Russian on 
the occasion of the latter 's excommunication from the Rus- 
sian Church. 5 During his last visit to Europe he learned the 
Himyaritic script because of the relation sustained by the 
Himyar kingdom to the Arabs and the history of Islam. 6 

His greatness of character impressed all who knew him. 
Because of his native dignity of bearing and his refusal to 
flatter or cajole any one, even the great and influential, he 
was sometimes accused of pride. But in reality he was 
humble, as was evident from his considerate and ingratiating 
manner of address to his friends and even to his students. 
He was magnanimous and forgiving towards those who 
opposed him and thought to injure him, yet he was not easily 

1 Ibid., p. 83. a Al-Manar, viii, 394. 

3 Although Spencer was at that time an old man and had given up 
meeting people, he was induced by Mr. Wilfred Blunt to consent to a 
meeting with Muhammad 'Abduh who went to England for that purpose, 
Tarikh, hi. 182. 

4 Tarikh, iii. 103, 138, 182. The reference to plans for the reform of the 
schools is probably to the 'Proposals for Reform, written to convince the 
authorities in Egypt of the necessity of concern for religious education', 
published in Tarikh, ii. 364-81, from a rough draft. The proposals were 
written after his return to Egypt from Syria. 

8 Tarikh, ii. 547, where the letter is reproduced. Vide also two letters to 
an English clergyman who, in public addresses in London, had spoken in 
praise of Islam, ibid., p. 513 sqq. ° Al-Mandr, viii. 394. 

96 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

imposed upon. He was trustful towards his friends, erring 
even on the side of over-estimating the good will and good 
intentions of those who professed to be his friends. His 
generosity to the poor and needy was proverbial: he was 
known as 'the father of the unfortunate', and his residence 
at 'Ain Shams, which came to be known as 'the Refuge of 
the Unfortunate ', was continually besieged by applicants for 
assistance. 1 He was particularly interested in aiding needy 
students of the Azhar, and in his private accounts the names 
of many of them appeared as receiving monthly allowances 
from him. 2 He was truthful and frank in stating his opinions, 
and tried always to be fair and exact in his statements. 3 His 
decisions were made with deliberation, yet -once made, were 
steadfastly adhered to. 4 His independence in thought and 
action was remarkable, yet he sought advice and help from 
others. But the attribute which most impressed his contem- 
poraries and which constitutes his chief claim to greatness 
of character, was his moral courage. 'In the very heart of 
the East/ said a leading Arabic newspaper, 'in the lands of 
fear and terror and tyranny, he was a man of daring disposi- 
tion and free spirit, openly expressing his opinion and adher- 
ing to it, without fear of the might of any one in authority 
or the power of any of the great ; and this adherence to his 
opinion, this daring and lack of fear, drew down upon him many 
painful experiences and numerous misfortunes and trials/ 5 

Devotion to Islam was the controlling motive of his life. 
It was his deep conviction that only by a thorough -going 
reform of the whole system that amounted, indeed, to the 
evolution of a new Islam, although to him it meant but a 
return to the original form, could this religion prove its 
inherent adaptability to present-day conditions. In the 
accomplishment of this purpose his zeal knew no bounds. 'I 
fear nothing but death,' he is reported to have said, 'because 

1 Tdrikh, iii. 60, 98. 2 Ibid., p. 261. 

3 Cf . his concern to correct what he thought was an insufficient statement 
in his I^ur'an commentary, Al-M anar, viii. 548. 

4 Al-Mandr, viii. 536. He read a number of European works on the 
training of the will. Ibid., p. 394. 

6 Tdrikh, iii. 46, from Al-Mukattam. Cf. also Al-Muktatif, ibid., p. 103; 
Mashdhlr, i. 286. 

Muhammad f Abduh: Biography 97 

it will put an end to the work in which I am engaged.' 1 When 
friends urged him to abandon the many responsible positions 
which he held, which he used to advance his reform purposes, 
and retire to his former position in the Court of Appeal where 
he would receive a larger salary and be free from the storm 
of abuse which was then assailing him, he refused to listen ; 
'for, as I knew him,' said a friend, 'it was impossible for him 
to live any other kind of a life than the one he was living.' 2 
His concern for the backward state of Muslim countries 
caused him at times to lie awake at night pondering over 
means of remedying the situation. 3 With concern for the 
religion and peoples of Islam in general, he combined a love 
for his own country which was particularly noticeable in a 
Muslim land, where loyalty to Islam takes the place, as a 
rule, of devotion to country. 4 In all his activities he was sup- 
ported by an undaunted hope concerning the final successful 
issue, that outweighed his anxieties and disappointments. 
'He possessed a hope concerning the reform of his nation 
which nothing could shake. He had a firm belief that the 
good seed, if sown on the fertile soil of our country, would 
spring up and blossom and bear fruit, as the seeds of corrup- 
tion have sprung up in it and blossomed and borne fruit. 
Therefore he sowed with open hand all the good thoughts and 
noble sentiments and beneficial teachings which he had 
gathered during his lifetime.' 6 

He found the people of Egypt divided into two parties with 
reference to the reforms which he was attempting. There was 
the conservative party, who decidedly refused any change 
from the existing state of affairs, out of conviction that what 
had been handed down from the venerated past was sacred 
and immune to change. These were largely represented by the 
Azhar class and their following. There was also a liberal, or 
modernizing, party, composed for the most part of those who 

1 Tdrlkh, iii. 37, 61. 

3 Ibid., p. 266, memorial address of l£asim Bey Amin. 
8 Al-Manar, viii. 550. 

4 Tdrlkh, iii. 268, address of I£asim Bey Amin. Cf. Lord Cromer's 
opinion that he was in fact, ' a somewhat dreamy, unpractical, yet genuine 
patriot 1 . Modem Egypt, ii. 180. 

5 Tdrikh, iii. 268, address of ]£asim Bey Amin. 

98 Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 

had received a modern education and were impatient of a 
devotion to the past that would shackle freedom of thought 
and render impossible all participation in modern progress. 1 
Muhammad 'Abduh had something in common with both 
parties and was, in a sense, in the forefront of both. 2 The 
Conservatives respected his learning and regarded him as the 
leading scholar and apologist of Islam, although they would 
have none of his modernizing tendency. The Moderns, on 
the other hand, looked to him as their leader, in whose prin- 
ciples they discerned the promise of a new day. 

Not all those who opposed him, however, belonged of 
sincere conviction to the orthodox party. There were some 
who were in positions of influence who saw in his activities 
or his principles some menace to their position or incon- 
venience to themselves ; 3 others were profiting in one way 
or another from the existing state of affairs ; still others had 
private ends which could not be served by alliance with his 
party. 4 Those who had hopes of the political unification of 
Muslim countries under one supreme Muslim ruler, feared 
that the spread of modern civilization among their people 
and the increased intercourse with non-Muslim peoples which 
would result, would jeopardize this ambitious scheme. 5 But 
by far the greater number of those who were antagonistic to 
his ideas and objected to many of his activities were those 
who were conservative through conviction or ignorance, to 
whom acceptance of belief on the authority of past teachers 
represented the divinely ordained order of things. 'What 
kind of a shaikh is this', was the objection which these raised, 
'who speaks French and travels in European countries, who 
translates their writings and quotes from their philosophers 
and disputes with their learned men, who gives "fatwas" of 
a kind that no one of his predecessors ever did, and takes part 
in benevolent societies and collects money for the poor and 
unfortunate ? ' 6 These poisoned the minds of the common 
people against him by insinuations, if not open charges, 
against his orthodoxy ; and the common people, having little 

1 Mashahir, i. 286. a Tarlkh, iii. 45, 73, 103, 154. 

3 Mashahir, i. 286. 4 Tarlkh, iii. 76. 

6 Mashahir, i. 286. 6 Tarlkh, iii. 268, address of 3£asim Bey Amin. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 99 

understanding of the real aims which he was trying to accom- 
plish, followed their accustomed leaders and came to think 
of him as a 'kafir', an unbeliever. 1 

While, on the other hand, the Modernists followed the lead 
of Muhammad 'Abduh generally, there were some who con- 
sidered that his modernizing measures were not thorough 
enough. These were the ones who advocated the wholesale 
introduction of European customs along with the commodi- 
ties and conveniences of European civilization. These were 
the 'intellectuals* whom he had criticized in his earlier days 
for their superficial views of what is involved in the uplift of 
the whole nation. 2 Thus, in a measure, ' Abduh and his party 
fell between the two extremes. 'They were too much tainted 
with heterodoxy', said Lord Cromer, 'to carry far along with 
them the conservative Moslems. Nor were they sufficiently 
Europeanized to win the mimics of European ways. They 
were neither good enough Moslems nor good enough Euro- 
peans.' 3 Yet the strength of the sentiment for advancement 
and reform was much greater and more widespread than 
might be concluded from the number of those who openly 
allied themselves with him. 4 Even in the Azhar, as has been 
seen, there were numbers who recognized the necessity for 
reform and approved his efforts ; and a much greater number 
outside of the Azhar were at heart in sympathy with his 
aims. Yet the same faintheartedness and fear of allowing 
their opinions to be known, the same indecision and inactivity 
which prevented energetic co-operation with his endeavours 
in the Azhar, operated in like manner to silence the voices 

1 Tarikh, iii. 76, 154; Mashahlr, i. 286. a Cf. above, p. 49. 

8 Modern Egypt, ii. 181. 

4 Cf. Horten, Beitrage, xiv. 77, who says that since the speakers who 
delivered the addresses at the memorial service for Muhammad 'Abduh 
represented the educated class and the leading circles of Egypt, and spoke 
in his spirit, they furnish at the same time a testimony to the success of his 
reform efforts. On the seventeenth anniversary of his death, July 11, 1922, 
a meeting which was organized by his adherents and sympathizers to revive 
his memory by a review of his life and work, was held in the Egyptian 
University in Cairo. According to Al-Mandr, the attendance was about 
thirteen hundred. Ahmad Lutfi Bey al-Sayyid, President of the Egyptian 
University, who made the address of welcome, claimed that the majority 
of these were former pupils of Muhammad 'Abduh or pupils of his pupils. 
Al-Manar, xxiii. 513 sqq. Tarikh, i. 1053 sqq. 

100 Muhammad K Abduh: Biography 

and paralyse .the activities of the larger group without ; while 
on the other hand, those who opposed him were active and 
vehemently articulate. The weakness and timidity of his 
friends and sympathizers and the boldness and resoluteness 
of his opponents were the greatest obstacles which he en- 
countered in the course of his reforms. 1 

His fame and influence were by no means confined to 
Egypt. Muslims from all quarters of the globe, attracted by 
his renown for zeal on behalf of his country and the religion 
of Islam, wrote to him, desiring decisions (fatwds) on matters 
of law and religion, or seeking to avail themselves of the 
benefit of his scholarship. 2 His correspondence on these 
matters embraced the leading scholars and the rulers and 
high officials of Muslim lands from India to Morocco. 3 What 
his name stood for throughout the East is indicated by the 
fact that the newspapers in Syria and other parts of the Otto- 
man Empire were forbidden by the Sultan to print any report 
of his death or any elegy of him or account of his life, while, 
previous to his death, even to mention his name was for- 
bidden because the mere mention of it required the mention 
of reform. 4 As for the extent of his reputation, witness is 
furnished by the messages of condolence which were sent to 
his relatives or numbers of his followers on the occasion of his 
death: Syria, India, Bahrain, Singapore, Java, Persia, 
Russia, Tunis, Algiers, the circle of the lands of Islam. 5 To 
these are to be added the newspapers and magazines which 
carried biographical and eulogistic accounts of his life and 
work, not only of many of the lands just mentioned, but also 
the Arabic newspapers of San Paolo, Brazil, and of New 
York, which mention his name and that of Jamal al-Din side 

1 Tarikh, iii. 269, address of 3£asim Bey Amin. 

2 Mashahir, i. 283; Al-Manar, viii. 487. 

3 His correspondents include: a scholar of Hyderabad, India, Tarikh, 
ii. 519, 520; the Sultan of Morocco, Mawlai 'Abd al-'Aziz, p. 545; high 
Turkish officials in Constantinople and elsewhere, pp. 532, 533; Shaikh 
Ibrahim al-Yaziji, the Syrian scholar of Bairut, pp. 540-1, 557; other 
Syrian scholars in Damascus, Aleppo, and elsewhere, pp. 542, 543, 548, 549 ; 
Mawlai Idris b. Mawlai 'Abd al-Hadi, scholar and judge of Fez, Morocco, 
pp. 546, 547. Cf. also his appeals on reform to members of the society 'Al- 
'Urwah al-Wuthkah' in many lands, pp. 488-513. 

* Tarikh, iii. 150, note. B Ibid., pp. 285-98; Horten, Beitrage, xiv. 76. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 101 

by side with the heroes of freedom in Turkey, Midhat Pasha, 
and Fuad Pasha. 1 European scholarship also paid its tribute 
of respect in the message of Professor E. G. Browne, English 
scholar and the biographer of Jamal al-Dln, who mourns the 
death of Muhammad 'Abduh as one 'the like of whom he 
had never seen whether in the East or in the West' for 
scholarship, piety, wisdom, eloquence, and beneficent deeds. 2 
That his influence is still potent in lands of the East outside 
of Egypt, is evident from the increasing number of transla- 
tions of his works into other languages which continue to be 
made. Muhammad Rashid Rida, editor of the periodical 
Al-Manar, is authority for the statement that 'Abduh's 
important work on theology, Risdlat al-tawhid, which contains 
a summary of the principal doctrines advocated by him, has 
been translated into the Urdu language and is being used as 
a text-book in the College of Aligarh, and elsewhere, in 
India. 3 Dr. Ahmed Muhiddin, in his history of the develop- 
ment of Modernism in Turkey, states that * Abduh's works have 
been partially translated into Turkish by M. Akif , and thinks 
it possible that the views of the modern Turkish reformers, 
and, in less measure, those of the Turkish Nationalists as well, 
have a close connexion with the teachings of Muhammad 
r Abduh. 4 According to the same writer, a work on the unifica- 
tion of the schools of canon law, by the editor of Al-Manar, 
has also been translated into Turkish by Ahmad Hamdi. 5 

1 Tdrlhh, iii. 150; Al-Afkar and Al-Manazir of San Paolo, and Mir' at 
al-Gharb of New York. The editors of these newspapers were Syrian 
Christians, who lamented his loss to all Arabic-speaking communities, both 
Christian and Muslim. 

2 Ibid., pp. 298, 299. The letter was written in Arabic to Hamudah Bey 
'Abduh, brother of Muhammad 'Abduh. His estimate deserves to be given 
at length. He says in part : * During my lifetime I have seen many lands and 
many peoples. But I have never seen one like the deceased, whether in the 
East or in the West. For indeed he was unique in his scholarship, unique 
in piety and reverence, unique in his insight and comprehension, not only 
of the external appearances of matters but also of their inner significance, 
unique in his perseverance and the sincerity of his motives, unique in his 
eloquence and fluency, scholar, man of practical affairs, benefactor, one 
who feared God and did his utmost in his service, a lover of learning and 
a haven to the poor and needy.' 8 Risalah, publisher's preface, p. V. 

4 Die Kulturbewegung im modernen Turkentum, by Dr. Phil. Ahmed 
Muhiddin, Leipzig, 1921, p. 64. 

6 The title of the translated work is Mezahibin telfiqi we islamyn bit 

102 Muhammad f Abduh: Biography 

The doctrines of Muhammad 'Abduh are also making 
progress in Malaysia, according to information which has 
been made available by Dr. H. Kraemer, a Dutch scholar 
who has had special opportunities to study the conditions of 
Islam in the Dutch East Indies. 1 He writes: 

'As concerns Muhammad 'Abduh, his influence is beginning to 
penetrate (i.e. in the Dutch East Indies). A Malayan translation 
of his commentary is in print and is available in parts. In Jogja 
(Djokjakarta) the "Muhammadiya" 2 tries to propagate the Islam 
of Muhammad r Abduh, very often without mentioning him by 
name. Progress along Western lines consists here, for the most 
part, in furtherance of education and of medical care, and of 
propaganda through the agency of young men; everything, 
stimulated by the activities of the missionary bodies and following 
their methods. Besides the "Muhammadiya", the movement 
"Irshad", found more in Batavia and among the Arabs, is to be 
reckoned as progressive. It is under the leadership of Shaikh 
Ahmad Surkati, of Batavia, a man of much ability. Of any really 
organized orthodox activity or counter activity, one can scarcely 
speak. There are several minor movements, but they are little 
organized. Polemical outbursts against the Moderns not infre- 
quently appear. The mass of the people are conservative and 
orthodox, and are under the domination of the old teachers of 
worship who are very conservative. Still further apart, stands the 
movement of Hajj Salim, a very gifted but very erratic man, who 
tries through the "Sarekat Islam" 3 and the Islam Hindiyyah 

naqtaja dschemiH. The work treats also of the fight against superstitions 
and against belief on authority, of the demand for the right of independent 
investigation, the unity of Islam in politics and canon law, &c. Cf . op. cit., 
p. 72. All the foregoing ideas are common places of the 'Abduh school. 

1 Dr. Kraemer, who is a Ph. D. of Leiden University, 1921, has for a 
number of years been Agent of the Netherlands Bible Society in the East 
Indies. Special thanks for his interesting and valuable account are due, 
not only to him, but also to Dr. A. H. Prussner (Ph.D., Chicago University, 
1920), of Tebing, Tinggi Deli, Sumatra, Dutch East Indies, through whose 
kindness the statement was secured. 

2 The 'Muhammadiya' is one of the special Islamic unions designed to 
advance cultural and religious aims among the Muslims of Malaysia. Cf. 
Enc. Islam, art. 'Sarekat Islam', by C. C. Berg. The 'Irshad' ('Guidance') 
is a similar movement. 

3 The ''Sarekat Islam' is a political combination of Muhammadan Indo- 
nesians, founded in 1910. Its object was 'to secure for the native element a 
more prominent position, socially, politically, and economically, at the 
same time retaining Islam, which is the natural bond that links together the 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Biography 103 

Congresses to direct the minds of the people in a Pan-Islamio 
direction. The militantly orthodox, especially the Arabs, give 
particular vent to their anger against the Moderns by calling them 
"Wahhabis'V 1 

Muhammad r Abduh thus appears as one of the commanding 
figures of the past century. As scholar, writer, patriot, man 
of public affairs, he left his mark upon his age, and in these 
respects he is deserving of comparison with the great men of 
his day in other lands. But it is in his character as reformer 
that he appears as truly great ; for, as Zaidan remarks, there 
arise in any one nation, however long its history, but a very 
small number of individuals who attempt such reforms as 
he attempted. 2 He did not live to see the fruition of his 
endeavours ; but he set in motion influences which outlived 
him. 'He died', said a contemporary writer, 'in the midst 
of the breaking of the new day which his doctrines and 
principles have brought to pass in the Muslim world/ 3 
That the coming of this day seems even yet remote and uncer- 
tain, only testifies to the far-sightedness of his vision, and 
establishes more firmly his position among the great leaders 
and reformers of Islam. 

very diverse elements of a great part of the native population of the Dutch 
East Indies'. Enc. Islam, art. 'Sarekat Islam'. 

1 It is significant that in Egypt the same name was applied to the party 
of Muhammad 'Abduh,, by way of opprobrium and ridicule. Cf . Goldziher, 
Koranauslegung, p. 336. 2 Mashahir, i. 284. 8 Tdrlkh, iii. 42. 


Principles and Tendencies 

SOME account of the leading ideas of Muhammad 'Abduh 
has been given in the preceding pages, more particularly 
those which illustrate his various activities and the develop- 
ment of his thought. A somewhat more systematic and 
and comprehensive summary of his characteristic teachings 
seems essential, however, for a fuller understanding of his 
thought and the value of his contribution to Islam. This will 
be attempted in the present chapter. The literary works from 
which such a summary must be drawn may be found in the 
appendix on bibliography. The present survey cannot claim 
to be original, in the sense of being the first account of his 
thought -system to be given, inasmuch as three noteworthy 
studies, covering his works in whole or in part, have preceded. 
Goldziher, in his work Die Bichtungen der islamischen Koran- 
auslegung, in the chapter entitled ' Der islamische Modernis- 
mus und seine Koranauslegung ' (pp. 310-70), has given an 
account of Muhammad ' Abduh 's method in interpretation of 
the Kur'an and some of the results attained. In the introduc- 
tion to the French translation of Eisdlat al-tawhid made by 
M. Michel and Shaikh Mustafa 'Abd al-Razik, two excellent 
summaries of the ideas of Muhammad 'Abduh are given: 
first, of his ideas on religion in general, and second, of the 
ideas contained in his Eisdlat al-tawhld (pp. xliii-lxxxv). 
Finally, Professor M. Horten has compiled a fairly exhaustive 
summary of The Thought-world of Muhammad * Abduh ('Die 
Gedankenwelt von Muhammad Abduh') in the second part 
of his study of 'Muhammad Abduh: sein Leben und seine 
theologisch-philosophische Gedankenwelt', in Beitrdge zur 
Kenntniss des Orients, xiv (1917), 74-128. The first part of 
his study, dealing with the biography of Muhammad 'Abduh, 
occurs in the preceding volume of the same periodical. In his 
study, Professor Horten limits himself strictly to a considera- 
tion of the world- view of Muhammad 'Abduh, although an 
investigation of his activity as a preacher and social worker, 

Muhammad *Abduh: Doctrines 105 

he believes, promises greater results (xiii. 85). The present 
study, while taking full account of the preceding investiga- 
tions and depending upon them in many respects, as will be 
sufficiently evident, is yet based directly upon the Arabic 

Horten' s Estimate of Muhammad *Abduh. 

Of the three studies just mentioned, it is that of Professor 
Horten ' s , which has aimed to survey the thought of Muhammad 
'Abduh as a whole. It is natural, therefore, that he should be 
the one to express an opinion of Muhammad 'Abduh as a 
thinker, and attempt an estimate of the value of his actual 
accomplishments in the fields of theology and philosophy. 
In general, it may be said that he does not rank him among 
the great thinkers of Islam. Bringing to the study of his works 
the point of view of the Western student of Islam who sees the 
opportunity, in this critical period of its development, for a 
scientific criticism of the whole system of philosophy and 
theology, and an adjustment and restatement of the same 
to meet the present situation, with possibly some new contri- 
butions to the solution of the problems of present-day 
thought, Horten seems conscious of a disappointment that 
Muhammad 'Abduh has not proved equal to the task, as 
some of the great intellects of the past might have done . ' Fate' , 
he says, ' has not afforded us, the historians of the West who 
follow the intellectual development of the East, the spectacle 
of the rise in Islam, at this period of the penetration of modern 
culture, of an outstanding thinker such as Ibn Sina, who 
should wrestle with the new problems of culture, overcome 
the old in its moribund constituents, develop it further in its 
good and solid fundamentals, and clearly recognize and try 
to solve at least the chief problems of modern knowledge of 
the world* (xiv. 128). 'Abduh's methods are not sufficiently 
objective and scientific, and therefore his results are deficient. 
'Not once does he undertake the search for a solid critique of 
knowledge' (ibid., p. 128). 'Pure science one cannot find in 
him, philosophy is for him almost a defection from the faith. 
To seek in him questions of world view of scientific content 
is therefore almost a fruitless undertaking' (xiii. 85). What 

106 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

one does find in him is 'only the elimination of that which has 
been overcome by the spirit of progress, not the building up 
of a new thought world' (xiv. 128). 

Wherein Muhammad ( Abduh did attempt to restate prob- 
lems of philosophy and theology, he met with only partial 
success, according to Horten. In so far as he pointed out the 
insufficiency of the old and cleared its ruins out of the way, 
he did succeed in preparing the way for modern scientific 
thought and culture. 'But it is easy to understand', says 
Horten, 'that in so doing he has swept aside much that is 
good, and the remaining content of ideas is much narrower 
than that of earlier times. . . . Much that was thrown away 
will have to be taken up again' (xiv. 82, 83). And again: 
'How much that is unacceptable still shackles the flight of 
his thought ! There still remains fundamental rubbish to be 
carted away in order to create room for a new building' 
(ibid., p. 128). 

This generally unfavourable estimate is, it is true, only a 
part of what Horten has to say. He himself suggests other 
considerations which tend to set the accomplishments of 
Muhammad 'Abduh in more favourable light. His chief 
significance 'lies not in the field of science but in that of 
religious awakening' (xiii. 85). Another essential element in 
his significance is to be found in the fact that he recognized 
the insufficiency and non-finality of the scholastic philosophy 
and saw the opportunity which was thereby offered for the 
formulation of a modern philosophy (ibid., pp. 86, 87). 
While he accomplished something less than could have been 
hoped for in reconstructing the thought of modern Islam, 
yet 'it would be a great injustice', Horten admits, 'to expect 
of an Oriental completed results in fields in which the West 
itself is still far from such results. Muhammad 'Abduh had 
to reckon with his environment and was dependent on it. 
Its surpassing backwardness allows the work of our reformer 
to appear in all the clearer light, and makes us forgive him 
many failings' (xiv. 128). He does Shaikh 'Abduh still 
further justice by saying that when the modern method of 
thought has been learned, as against the medieval scholastic 
method, it will appear that the first fundamental elimination 

Muhammad "Abduh: Doctrines 107 

accomplished by him will not have been too great a mistake 
(ibid., p. 83). Yet the fact remains, that he reached only a 
preliminary stage in the progress towards a reasonable basis 
for modern thought and culture (ibid., p. 82) ; and that the 
final and sufficient work, in logic and philosophy as well as 
in theology, yet remains to be written, after Islam has more 
fully assimilated the new culture of which it is now only 
beginning to take account (ibid., p. 78). 

Horten's estimate has been given at length, because it is 
the carefully considered view of an eminent scholar whose 
special field is the development of Islamic theological and 
philosophical thought. Further, it furnishes a possible point 
of view from which to judge the work of Muhammad 'Abduh. 
It proposes to consider him in the capacity of a scholar and 
thinker, who was given an opportunity, in a critical period 
of the development of Islam, to weigh the thought of the 
past centuries of its history in the scales of modern scientific 
knowledge, to sift and test and ehminate, to conserve and 
develop and reshape, to assimilate the modern achievements 
of the West and adjust the thought of the past to the present 
— all to be organized into a reasoned and ordered system of 
thought which should combine the best of the old and the new, 
and prove itself the self -evidencing work of a master mind. 
There is much to be said for the desirability of such an ideal 
development of Islamic thought. Something of the sort, it 
may be^admitted, requires to be done, whether by one man or 
by a succession of men, in order to preserve Islam as a system 
of thought and philosophy which will endure the test of 
present-day knowledge. That Muhammad 'Abduh failed to 
accomplish this, except in an approximate degree, may, 
perhaps, be the consideration which is given principal weight 
in determining the value of his contribution to Islam. 

Relation between Muhammad K Abduh*s Thought and his 

At the same time, the point of view just sketched would 
seem, when Muhammad 'Abduh's career as a whole is con- 
sidered, to be somewhat too scholastic and detached. In 
particular, it is doubtful whether sufficient weight has been 

108 Muhammad *Abduh: Doctrines 

attached to the vital relation which existed between the 
character of his thought and his activities as a reformer. For 
Muhammad 'Abduh, perhaps unfortunately for the systema- 
tic development of Islamic thought, was no cloistered scholar 
and thinker. It is true that he began his career as a Sufi 
theologian-philosopher, speculating in detached abstraction 
upon the problems which have ever concerned the school-men, 
yet with a growing knowledge of, and interest in, the prob- 
lems of modern science. Had he continued in the undisturbed 
career of a scholar, it is conceivable that he might have 
founded a new school of philosophy which would have 
mediated successfully between the thought of the past and 
that of the present. But he soon became absorbed in the 
manifold activities of public life which left little leisure for 
study. Thereafter, throughout his subsequent career, his 
work of writing and teaching paralleled his public activities, 
and the two spheres naturally reacted upon one another ; or 
rather, both were dominated by the supreme purpose of his 
life, which was the reform and revivification of Islam and 
the rehabilitation of Muslim peoples. 

It may not be amiss to recur once more to the actual 
situation as it presented itself to Muhammad 'Abduh. The 
problem of the reform of Islam, as he conceived it, was by 
no means a simple one. The actual condition of the Muslim 
people was one of great backwardness. Politically, they were 
for the most part subject to non-Muslim powers, and, even 
where not directly under foreign rule, were yet subject to 
foreign influence. The spirit of these decadent nations must 
be aroused, and they must again be united in the conscious- 
ness of a common Islamic brotherhood and of a common 
heritage as Muslims. Their social, moral, and intellectual 
condition was deplorable ; they were subject to many weak- 
nesses and ills and the victims of many degrading customs, 
which were no part of the religion of Islam, but rather were 
the result of their ignorance of the true Islam and their failure 
to practise even what they knew. The cure for these many 
ills, as he conceived it, lay in a return to the true Islam. 1 

But what is the true Islam to which the various Muslim 

1 Cf. above, p. 60. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 109 

peoples must once more be summoned ? As a matter of fact, 
he recognized, Muslims are hoplessly divided into sects, each 
one of which claims to be the true one. Moreover, he felt, 
the religion of Islam as conceived by the doctors of the schools 
has become so vast and complex a system, that it is difficult 
for any one, particularly if he be an uneducated person, to 
know just what Islam is. Under such conditions, the only 
hope for a revival of Islam lies in the recovery of the essentials 
of that religion, the minimum of beliefs without which Islam 
would not be Islam, the true Islam which all could recognize 
as such, and upon which all could unite. Still further, a new 
intellectual awakening must be fostered, by the promotion of 
education among the masses of the people, and by the pursuit 
of modern scientific studies, in order that Muslim nations may 
be able to compete with Western nations. For there is 
nothing in the spirit of modern civilization or in modern 
scientific attainments that is contrary to the true Islam— -if 
Islam be but properly understood and properly stated. The 
necessity for such a statement that will be in harmony with 
modern science, calls again for the recovery of what is essen- 
tial and abiding in Islam, and not merely of temporary or 
local application. In particular, there is need for a revision 
of the system of canon law, which is also an essential part of 
Islam, that its adaptability as an instrument of government 
under modern conditions may be practically demonstrated. 

Thus the problem was not merely one of the alleviation or 
palliation of existing evils by the introduction of a few 
evident reforms, after the manner of some reformers ; nor yet 
one of merely restating the theology and philosophy of 
Islam, after the manner of the schools. It was the still more 
difficult and essential one of, on the one hand, reforming the 
religion and restoring it to the simplicity and effectiveness 
of its early days, and, on the other, of effecting the return of 
the masses of the people to a sincere and enthusiastic accep- 
tance and practice of this pure religion. It was a question of 
reviving Islam in new power, that thereby the Muslim peoples 
might be rescued from their evil state and thus the glory of the 
early days might be restored. 

By what means could this reformation be accomplished ? 

110 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

Jamal al-Din had advocated the way of political revolution. 
Others believed that the only hope lay in the general adoption 
of Western learning and Western customs. To Muhammad 
'Abduh, the only method which held any hope of success was 
that of a general religious awakening in every Muslim country. 
Thus, in referring to the efforts of enlightened individuals in 
Persia, India, Arabia, and later in Egypt, about the middle 
of the last century, to discover the causes of the ills of Mus- 
lims and their remedy, he states that the objective of all of 
them 'consisted in making use of the confidence which a 
Muslim has in his religion in setting in order the affairs of this 
religion 5 . Stated more fully, this purpose may be said to 
consist in 'the correction of the articles of belief and the 
removal of the mistakes which have crept into them through 
misunderstanding of the basic texts of the religion, in order 
that, when once the beliefs have been made free of harmful 
innovations, the activities of Muslims may, as a result, be 
made free from disorder and confusion, the conditions of the 
individual Muslims may be improved, their understanding 
enlightened by the true sciences, both religious and secular, 
and wholesome traits of character developed ; and that this 
desirable state may communicate itself through the in- 
dividuals to the nation as a whole*. This is the purpose which 
those who desire reform have in mind when they summon 
Muslims to a knowledge of their religion, or advocate religious 
education, or deplore the present corrupt state of Muslims. 
'For to attempt reform by means of a culture or philosophy 
that is not religious in character, would require the erection 
of a new structure, for which neither materials nor workmen 
are available. If the religion of Muslims can work these 
ends and has their confidence, why seek for other means ? ?1 

Character of his Kur'dn Commentary. 

This conception of his task and the means for accomplish- 
ing it, is consistently evident throughout all that he wrote, 
with the possible exception of his earliest philosophical 
treatise, Al-waridat. It might, indeed, be expected that this 

1 Tarikh, ii. 477, second reply to M. Hanotaux; also in Al-Isldm wa al- 
radd 'aid muntakidih, Cairo, 1343/1925, p. 76. 

Muhammad *Abduh: Doctrines 111 

practical purpose would appear in his occasional contribu- 
tions to the newspapers of Egypt and Syria, his articles in 
the Journal Officiel and Al-*Urwah al-Wuthkah, and in his 
controversial writings. But it appears no less fundamentally 
in his Commentary on the Kur'an, which, in Goldziher's 
view, 'represents the essence of the theological teaching pro- 
pagated by Jamal al-Dln and Muhammad f Abduh'. 1 It might 
not, perhaps, be out of the way to describe this Commentary 
as both practical and devotional in character. Muhammad 
Rashid Rida, who developed Shaikh 'Abduh's lectures on 
the Kur'an into the form in which they appear in his Com- 
mentary, claims that it provides an interpretation 'in a 
spiritual sense suitable to civilization (^ald tarikah ruhiyyah 
'umraniyyah), by which it will be proven that the wise 
Kur'an is for every age the source of religious and social well- 
being (al-sa'ddat al-diniyyah wa al-madaniyyah) \ a This same 
writer, in his introduction to the revised edition of the earlier 
portion of the Commentary points out that the greater part 
of previous interpretation of the Kur'an has obscured its real 
character as a revelation of light and guidance and a means 
for the purification of men's souls. 3 Muhammad 'Abduh, on 
the contrary, in his lectures sought to emphasize its true 
character; he placed the primary emphasis 'upon the guid- 
ance of the Kur'an, in a manner which agrees with the verses 
which describe it, and with the warnings and good tidings 
and guidance and correction for which it was sent down', at 
the same time giving care 'to the requirements of present- 
day conditions with respect to acceptability of phrasing, and 
having regard for the capacity of different classes of readers 
in understanding'. 4 

Character of his Theology. 

It is in his mature work of theology, Bisalat al-tawhid, that 
a full and considered exposition of his theological and philo- 
sophical system, if he had such, might reasonably be expected. 

1 Koranauslegung, p. 325. 

* Al-Manar, vi. 198; viii. 899, quoted by Goldziher, Koranauslegung, 
p. 344. * Al-Manar, xxviii (1927), 647. 

4 Al-Manar, xxviii. 650. Cf . fuller statement regarding the Commentary 
below, Chapter VIII. 

112 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

If the Bisalah were intended to be such, it is surprisingly brief, 
and still more, even popular in form. He tells, in the introduc- 
tory pages, of the genesis of this work, and of the purpose 
which he had in mind in its composition. He relates that, in 
giving lectures on theology to several classes of students in 
the Sultaniyyah School in Bairut, he found the existing works 
on theology to be unsuitable for his purpose : they were either 
above the comprehension of his students, or were otherwise 
not beneficial, or had been written for a different age from 
the present. He therefore decided to dictate to them some- 
thing more applicable to their time and conditions. He 
adopted a simple and easy method : first, to give an introduc- 
tion, or preliminary statement, and then proceed from that to 
necessary statements on different subjects, with regard only 
to the correctness of the proofs, even though the result might 
be different from the accustomed manner of composition in 
such treatises. Any reference that was made to differences 
of belief, was made 'from a distance, so that no one, perhaps, 
except the well informed would understand'. He kept no 
copy of his lectures, and when, finally, after years spent in 
work of another sort, he again had opportunity to give 
lectures on theology in the Azhar, he was obliged to apply to 
his brother, Hamiidah Bey 'Abduh, who had been a student 
of the first year at Bairut when the lectures were first given, 
for a copy of his notes on the lectures. These, he found, were 
suitable to the purpose which he now had in mind. The 
material was ' what one who knew little about theology would 
need, and, at the same time, one who knew a great deal might 
not find that it could be dispensed with ; in spite of its brevity, 
which was intended, and a restricted and limited form of 
statement which followed the method of the early fathers 
(salaf) in articles of belief, and paid no attention to the 
opinions of later generations (khalaf), and kept away from the 
differences between the sects'. Taking these notes as a basis 
for his lectures, he revised them by expansion or compression, 
as seemed ' suitable in such a brief summary \ The results were 
presented in his Risalah — 'in the hope that its brevity would 
not cause it to be neglected, or its worth undervalued'. 1 

1 Bisdlat al-tawhid, 5th ed., Cairo, 1346/192&-7 ,pp. 2-4. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 113 

Expressions occur here and there throughout the work 
which further indicate his purpose. Thus, in discussing the 
'Mission of the Prophets' (p. 97), he says: 'We are not 
concerned to give what has been said by either early or late 
writers on this subject. But we adhere to what has been our 
practice hitherto in these brief pages, of giving an explanation 
of what is believed, and effecting this along the simplest 
lines, without paying regard to the opinions held by those 
who differ, or the views settled upon by those who agree, 
except possibly a veiled reference of a sort that could not be 
dispensed with in a definite statement.' And again, in his 
exposition of the nature of Islam (p. 168), he says: 'I am 
giving a summary in this section, following the example of 
the Kur'an in committing to men of discernment the matter 
of supplying the details.' One more reference of this sort 
may be given. In concluding his discussion of men's acts 
with reference to the question of free will, he says that he 
does not pursue the matter any further ' because of the lack 
of necessity for it as concerns soundness of faith, and the 
inability of the minds of the commonalty to comprehend the 
matter in its essence, however much may be done by way 
of explanation ; and because the hearts of the majority of the 
people have been infected by the religious leaders with the 
disease of blind acceptance of belief on the authority of others 
(taklid) '. The character of this work as a whole has been well 
summed up by Muhammad Rashid Rida when he says : ' The 
centuries have passed, and there has been no work which was 
suitable as a presentation of a summons to Islam in the form 
required by the dogmatic theologians . . . until Muhammad 
'Abduh came and wrote Risdlat al-tawhid.' 1 Elsewhere he 
remarks that had it not been for the title and the technical 
terms of scholastic theology contained in the introductory 
section, which may have discouraged some readers who 
thought that it was a catechism like that of Al-Sanusi, or a 
work on dogmatic theology intended for the theologians, the 
work would have had a much larger circulation than it has 
had. And he adds that Muhammad f Abduh had intended 
simplifying the introduction and writing it in more popular 

1 Risdlat al-tawhid, publisher's preface, p. 'y\ 

114 Muhammad *Abduh: Doctrines 

form, like the section on 'Prophecy', and other sections less 
given to logical proof. 1 

It may be added that, in thus subordinating what he wrote 
to a practical end and accommodating it to the classes whom 
he wished to influence, he was not governed simply by con- 
siderations of policy, but was also acting in accordance with 
a natural characteristic. He confesses that he used to envy 
Jamal al-Dln his ability to expound his ideas to any audience, 
whether favourably disposed or otherwise ; while he himself, 
on the contrary, was always influenced, in his speaking and 
teaching, by considerations of time and place and audience, 
and never felt himself moved to speak unless he felt that there 
was a place for what he had to say. This was true also of his 
writing. When he addressed himself to collecting his thoughts 
on a subject, he found his mind full of many ideas. Then the 
thought would occur, ' To whom am I addressing these words 
and who will profit by them?' and thereupon his writing 
would come to a standstill, and the ideas that had collected 
themselves in his mind seemed to devour one another until 
all had disappeared, and the result was that nothing was 
written. 2 It was the instinct to which he thus gives expres- 
sion which marked him as a wise teacher, who, to use his 
own expression, 'has in his hand a scale by which to weigh 
the mind of the student and the degree of his readiness to 
receive what the teacher is saying'. 3 

It is sufficiently evident from the foregoing, that the form 
of statement in which his views on religion and theology are 
cast was determined by his desire to make what he conceived 
to be the simplest and most essential form of Islam available 
for the masses of the people. It is not necessarily to be con- 
cluded from this, that he summarily dismissed, as useless or 
mistaken, all the theological positions attained in the cen- 
turies of Islamic development except those which he expli- 
citly appro ves in his writings. He admits, as noted above, that 
he is giving a summary form of the doctrines which he con- 
siders essential, and trusts that those who are familiar with 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 493, 494. 

2 Ibid., p. 390, quoted also in Al-Manar, xxix. 53. 

3 Tafsir surat al-'asr wa khitab "amm, 2nd ed., Cairo, 1330/191 1 . p. 68. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 115 

theology will fill in the details from their own knowledge. 
But if the reader is not familiar with the endless discussions 
which go to make up the mass of theological teachings, he 
does not deem it essential that he should be burdened with 
them in order to know what Islam really is. His teachings 
throughout presuppose the body of orthodox theology, and 
show familiarity with and dependence upon, not only the 
acknowledged masters, but also some of the less distinguished 
writers. 1 In general, it may be said that his theology did not 
differ greatly, in essential content, from the accepted theology, 
if the wide range of views comprised within the limits of 
Islamic theology be borne in mind. ' He kept always within 
the limits of Islam,' says Michel, 'and even of Muslim ortho- 
doxy, if by orthodoxy be meant the schools which kept the 
closest to the sources and which, in the explication of those 
sources, followed a golden mean among the different ex- 
tremist tendencies.' 2 Where his teaching differed, the differ- 
ence was mainly one of emphasis. In some respects, as, for 
example, in the honour and dignity accorded to Muhammad 
and the Kur'an, and in his strict views of inspiration, he 
was extremely orthodox. 3 In other points, as in regard to 
prophecy and the occurrence of miracles, while retaining an 
essentially orthodox view, he sought to present a modernized 
and rationalized statement. 4 In still others, as in regard to 
the reputed miracles of saints, and certain details regarding 
the Hereafter, and matters based upon traditions of varying 
authenticity, he allowed considerable liberty for individual 
interpretation. 5 It was his attitude towards the canon law 
of Islam which particularly contravened the prevailing view. 6 
Some indication of his generally orthodox attitude, other 
than a detailed survey of his teaching, is afforded by the fact 
that he deplored the general ignorance of the Arabic language 
which prevented Muslims from knowing what is in the books 

1 As, e.g. Isfara' ini (d. 1078. Cf. Brockelmann, i. 387, 388), whom he 
curiously follows, says Horten, in his Commentary on Surat al-Fatihah. Cf . 
Beitrage y xiv. 86. 2 Misalah, p. lxxxiv. 

8 Cf. Beitrdge, xiv. 117; Koranauslegung, pp. 346-8: Cf. also below, 
Chapter VIII. 4 Cf . Risdkth, pp. lxxi, lxxviii. 

6 On miracles of the saints, cf. Michel, p. lxxviii; on the other two items 
cf. Risalah, 5th ed., p. 224; Michel, translation, pp. 137, 138. Cf. also below, 
Chapter VIII. ° Cf . below, Chapter VIII. 

116 Muhammad *Abduh: Doctrines 

of their religion, and made it one of his primary aims to 
revive a general knowledge of the language as a means to the 
reform of religion. 1 It is the duty of the believer, he taught, 
to know the articles of faith, and as a means to that end, to 
be familiar with the Catechism of Al-Sanusi and to be able to 
enumerate at least twenty of the attributes of God. 2 But he 
objected to making the books of theology the sole, or even 
the primary, source of a knowledge of religion. In his com- 
ment on chapter ii of the Kur'an, verse 210, he addresses 
words of censure directly to the teachers of religion, * those 
who are learned in the official forms'; 'ye have taught the 
people to be satisfied with a knowledge of the faith learned 
from the theological treatises of Al-Sanusi and Al-Nasafi. 
But the source of faith is the Book of God.' 3 

In part, the brief form of his theological teaching is due to 
his sense of the futility of many of the discussions which have 
rent asunder the unity of Islam, and his earnest desire to 
restore that unity. This aversion to discussion which he felt 
had gained little, appears more than once in his Bisdlah. In 
the section on 'Human Actions', after showing briefly that 
man is conscious of the power of choice but must recognize 
that the power of God overshadows all his actions, he con- 
cludes by observing that any investigation beyond this, by 
way of attempting to harmonize the actions of man as a free 
agent and the all-embracing knowledge and will of God, must 
be characterized as 'an attempt to pry into the secrets of 
Destiny, which we have been forbidden to plunge into and 
busying oneself with that which reason is almost incapable of 
attaining. The extremists of every religion, especially of 
Christianity and Islam, have gone deeply into it. But, after 
prolonged disputations, they still find themselves at the 
point where they began ; and the most that they have accom- 
plished is to create divisions and sects among themselves.' 4 

In like manner, he compares those who have wrestled and 
wrangled with one another in their 'foolish disquisitions' on 
the subject of whether it is incumbent upon God to do what 

1 Cf. above, p. 85. 

2 Cf. Beitrdge, xiv. 120. 3 Al-Manar, viii. 89, 90. 
4 Risalah, 5th ed., p. 67; Michel, translation, p. 43. 

Muhammad *Abduh: Doctrines 117 

is best for his creatures, to a company of brothers who were 
travelling towards a common destination but who took 
different routes. In the darkness they happened later to 
come together, but each mistook the other for an enemy who 
was intent upon robbing him of his possessions. Thus strife 
waxed hot among them, and they continued to belabour one 
another until, one by one, all had fallen, without any of them 
having reached his destination. But when the morning light 
appeared, and countenances could be recognized, good sense 
returned to those who had survived. But had recognition 
occurred beforehand, they would have aided one another 
in attaining their common desire, and their goal would have 
been gained, all of them, in fraternal fashion, being guided 
by the light of truth. 1 

Another element which tended to influence his theological 
discussions and to confine them within definite limits, was 
his marked intellectual caution which, at times, amounted 
to scepticism and agnosticism. While according to reason 
a primary place in religion, as will be noted later, he yet 
thought it the part of wisdom to acknowledge the limits 
beyond which human reason cannot go. In some subjects 
the limits of human thought are soon reached. This attitude 
is particularly evident in his discussion of the attributes of 
God. 2 He introduces the section by quoting a tradition, the 
general meaning of which, even if the tradition itself be not 
genuine, is confirmed, he declares, by the general sense as 
well as the detailed teaching of the Kur'an. The tradition is : 
'Reflect upon the creation of God, but do not reflect upon His 
essence, lest ye perish.' 

To illustrate the truth of this tradition and to show how 
impossible it is to know the real nature of God, he appeals to 
the so-called 'Atomic Theory ' of the philosophers. 

The utmost that the mind of man can attain, he says, regarding 
the nature of existing things, is to know only the accidents of 
certain things which come within his comprehension by means of 
his senses or his emotions or by process of reasoning; by these 

1 Risdlah, pp. 58, 59 ; Michel, translation, pp. 37, 38. 

9 Ibid., the section 'General Remarks on the Attributes', pp. 52 sqq. ; 
Michel, translation, pp. 34 sqq. 

118 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

means he is able to arrive at a knowledge of the sources of these 
accidents. He is able also to learn the general principles involved 
in the classification of things, and some of the laws governing the 
processes which befall them. But as for penetrating to the real 
nature of any existing reality, this is beyond his power ; because 
the discovery of the nature of compound substances consists only 
in the discovery of the nature of the elements of which it is com- 
posed. And this goes only as far as the pure atom, the real nature 
of which there is no means of discovering, of necessity. The most 
that can be known regarding it is its accidents and its effects. 
Take light, for example, the most evident of things: in spite of 
many scientific facts and details which have been learned con- 
cerning it, its real nature remains unknown ; the scientist knows 
only what every one knows who has two eyes. God has so ordered 
it that it is not necessary for man to know the real nature of things, 
but only their accidents and their peculiar properties. The sane 
mind takes pleasure simply in determining the relation of these 
properties to the things to which they belong, and in understand- 
ing the rules upon which this relationship is founded. To be busied, 
therefore, with seeking to discover the nature of things, is a waste 
of time and an expenditure of mental powers for a purpose for 
which they were not given. 1 

In another direction man finds his knowledge limited, 
namely, in regard to his own soul, that thing which is nearest 
of all things to himself. 

He has sought to know some of its accidents, and whether it is 
itself an accident or a substance ; whether it comes into existence 
before the body or after it ; whether it is inherent in the body or 
independent of it. Reason has not succeeded in establishing any- 
thing regarding these characteristics which can gain general 
assent ; but the sum total of man's efforts amounts only to this, 
that he knows that he exists, that he is living, and that he pos- 
sesses feeling and will. Beyond this, all the certain facts which he 
knows are reducible to those accidents of which he has gained 
knowledge by his intuition. But the real nature of any of these 
matters, or even the manner in which he possesses some of his 
characteristics, all this is unknown to him, nor can he find any 
means of learning it. 2 

This, he continues, is the state of man's mind in regard to that 

1 Bisalak, pp. 52-4; Michel, translation, pp. 34, 35. Cf. also remarks, 
Introd., p. lix. 

3 Ibid., p. 54; Michel, translation, p. 35. 

Muhammad *Abduh: Doctrines 119 

which is on the same level of existence with himself, or on a lower 
level. Still more, this is true likewise of those actions which he 
supposes to proceed from himself, such as thinking, and its con- 
nexion with movement and speech. What, then, must be his state 
of mind with reference to that Supreme Existence ? What must 
be his perplexity, nay, his sense of powerlessness, when he turns 
his attention to that Infinite Existence, which is without beginning 
and without end l 1 

The conclusion of this line of reasoning, the author states 
in terms which recall the tradition quoted at the beginning 
of the section. After speaking of the benefits which are to be 
derived from a study of 'the creation of God', he says: 

' But to reflect upon the essence of the Creator, is, in one respect, 
an attempt to penetrate its reality ; and this is forbidden to the 
human intellect, because of the severance of all relation between 
the two existences (i.e. between God and his creatures), and 
because of the impossibility of composition of parts in his essence. 
In another respect, to reflect about it is to proceed to lengths 
which the power of man cannot reach. It is, therefore, futile and 
harmful: futile, because it is an endeavour to comprehend the 
incomprehensible ; harmful, because it leads to confusion of belief , 
for it is the definition of what it is not permissible to define, and 
the limitation of what it is not proper to limit.' 2 

' It is sufficient for us ', he continues, * to know that God possesses 
these attributes. Anything beyond that, He has concealed within 
His own knowledge, and it is not possible for our reason to attain 
to it. For this reason, the Kur'an and previous books only direct 
attention to that which has been created, that thereby we may 
arrive at a knowledge of the existence of the Creator and His 
attributes of perfection. But as for the manner in which He pos- 
sesses these attributes, this it is not our province to examine into. 
. . . Whether the attributes are distinct from His essence, and 
whether His speech is an attribute different from the ideas of the 
heavenly books which are comprised within His knowledge, and 
whether His hearing and His vision are something else than His 
knowledge of what is seen and heard, and similar questions about 
which speculative theologians have differed and concerning which 
divergent schools of thought have arisen, all these are matters 
which it is not allowable to delve into, since it is not possible for 

1 Ibid., p. 35 ; Michel, translation, p. 35. 

9 Ibid., pp. 55, 56 ; Michel, translation, pp. 36. 

120 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

human reason to attain to them. And to set up proof for any of 
them from the expressions which occur in the revealed texts, 
indicates weakness of intellect, and is a use of the Divine Law 
which is deceiving ; for our use of language is not confined strictly 
within the limits of reality ; and if it were, the forms of expression 
which we use are not such as would be required by regard for the 
real nature of things. Such views are but the opinions of schools 
of philosophy ; even if the best of the philosophers be not in error in 
these views, at any rate, no school has arrived at a statement of them 
which is convincing. What, then, is our duty but to stop short at 
the limit which our reason can compass, and to ask God to forgive 
those who have believed in what His apostles, who have preceded 
us, and who have delved into these matters, have revealed.' 1 

In regard to the question of predestination also, he showed 
a spirit of caution. Reference has already been made to his 
belief that much useless discussion has taken place on the 
subject. He seems also to have had the feeling that a proper 
religious attitude concerning it necessitated a becoming 
caution. 'The desire to investigate this subject', he says in 
his comment on Surat Al-'Asr (Surah ciii. 3), 'is a species of 
deficiency in perseverance or is due to entire loss of it.' Later, 
after defining what he considers the proper attitude to assume, 
he says : 'I do not like to talk on this subject more than this, 
otherwise I shall have ceased to be one of the persevering, 
and have plunged into the depths of predestination (al-kadar) 
along with the others who do so.' 2 

His Attitude towards Philosophy. 

Some of the same characteristics which have been noted in 
regard to his theology are discernible in his attitude towards 
philosophy. Here also his practical purpose was determina- 
tive. It was largely due to the practical reasons which have 
been given that he did not deal with logic or with any other 
part of philosophy, as Horten has noted, in a systematic and 
scientific manner. 3 He did not, in fact, leave behind any con- 
siderable work which may be regarded as strictly philosophi- 
cal in method and content. His earliest work, Al-waridat, 
was one of much promise ; in it he dealt with the truths of 

1 Risalah, pp. 56, 57 ; Michel, translation, pp. 36, 37. 

2 Al-Manar, vi. 589, 590. 8 Beitrdge, xiv. 78. 

Muhammad *Abduh: Doctrines 121 

dogmatic theology, says Muhammad Rashid Rida, in a 
manner which 'combines the 'Man, the Gnosis, of the Sufis 
with the logical proof of the philosophers '- 1 Outside of this 
brief work, it is only in the earlier pages of his work on 
theology, the Risalah, that he follows in any definite manner 
the methods of the philosophers. In addition, however, note 
should be made of his attempt to revive interest in logic by 
his commentary on an important but difficult work in that 
field ; and to his lectures on Ibn Khaldun, and his 'Treatise on 
the Unity of Existence ' which were never published. 2 His 
pages throughout, moreover, show undoubted familiarity 
with the philosophers ; and it would be easy to over-estimate 
his seeming lack of interest in philosophy ; although the state- 
ment that he did not in his works treat it in a systematic and 
scientific manner remains true. 

This partial and imperfect treatment of philosophy may be 
attributed to an aversion to it on religious grounds, as has 
been done, seemingly, by Horten when he says that 'philo- 
sophy was to him almost a defection from the faith'. 3 There 
is considerable justification for such a conclusion in the rather 
contemptuous remarks of Muhammad 'Abduh, quoted above, 
on the ' opinions of schools of philosophy ', and the errors, or at 
least the unconvincing statements, of even the best of the 
philosophers. Yet it is possible to find in the particular sub- 
ject with which he is there concerned, a reason for his un- 
favourable opinion. He considers the subject of the attributes 
of God to be beyond the reach of human reason ; even the 
philosophers, therefore, cannot adequately deal with it. 
While thus protesting against their errors in this regard, he 
at the same time borrows from a metaphysical theory elabo- 
rated by them its demonstration of the inaccessibility of 
substance, to show that their methods break down when 
applied to the nature of God. 4 

It would be difficult to account for his early enthusiasm for 
philosophy, especially during his association with Jamal 
al-Din, and the fact that he did do some work, however 

1 Tdrikhy ii. 5. a Cf . Appendix on Bibliography. 

8 Cf. Beitrage, xiii. 85. 

4 Cf . Risalah, translation, p. 37 ; also Introd., p. lix. 

122 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

partial, in this field, if he considered it a defection from the 
faith. It was because of the revival of philosophy, in part at 
least, that he and Jamal were suspected and opposed by the 
orthodox ; and by his friends and admirers he was regarded 
as its leading modern exponent. 1 Furthermore, in one of his 
early articles in Al-Abrdm, on 'Speculative Theology and the 
Demand for the Contemporary Sciences ', he writes in defence 
of the study of logic and philosophy which was frowned upon 
by the orthodox. He says, in effect : 

The science of logic has been developed for the purpose of setting 
up proofs and distinguishing ideas, and to show how the premises 
should be ordered to arrive at a conclusion after proof. Such a 
science deserves to be regarded as a means of approach to the 
dogmatic sciences. The conclusions of logic are only decisions 
meant to strengthen the decisions of religion by conclusive reason- 
able proofs, for the satisfaction of the searchers after knowledge 
and for the refutation of the deniers. ... 'If we do not devote 
thought to setting up proofs and correcting them, and to the 
proper method of discovering truths and defining them, then to 
what shall we devote it ? For if the right guidance which is ours 
now should escape us, and our correctness of belief were to dis- 
appear, could we recover a knowledge of it again by anything 
except by proof ? ' 2 

In the introduction to the Risdlak, he has given a brief 
survey of the historical development of dogma in Islam which 
is unique among Muslim scholars, in showing an approach to 
the modern critical method. What he has to say about the 
development of philosophy not only reveals his thought 
regarding philosophy, but illustrates also his general attitude 
of mind. Because of its importance in this connexion, it is 
given here in full. 

'As for the schools of philosophy', he says, 'they deduced their 
opinions by the exercise of pure thought ; and the greatest of the 
speculative philosophers had no other aim than the acquisition of 

1 Cf. above, pp. 7, 98. One account which rather extravagantly praises 
him as 'the Pole of the sphere of philosophy 1 may be taken as typical of 
much that was said of him, even by responsible writers. Tdrikh, iii. 71, 
quoted in Beitrage, xiii. 85, n. 1. 

a Tdrikh, ii. 60. Cf. above, p. 38. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 123 

knowledge and the satisfaction of the curiosity of their minds in 
the discovery of the unknown or in ascertaining the nature of 
things that are amenable to reason. It was within their power to 
attain as much of their aims as they desired ; for the body of the 
believers took them under their protection and allowed them the 
enjoyment of entire liberty in acquiring the delight of their minds, 
in advancing the arts, and in strengthening the corner-stones 
upon which the order of human society rests, by means of their 
discovery of the secrets which are concealed in the bosom of the 
universe. For these secrets are among the things which God gave 
us permission to acquire by our reason and thought, when He 
said: "He created for you all that is on Earth" (Surah ii. 27); 
since He made no exception in this statement of anything, whether 
manifest or concealed. No intelligent Muslim closed the way 
before them, nor placed obstacles in the path along which they 
were seeking right direction, in view of the place of prime impor- 
tance to which the I£ur'an has raised reason, in that it has the final 
decision regarding the matter of happiness, and in the distinction 
between truth and falsehood, and between what is harmful and 
what is beneficial ; and in view, also, of the genuine saying of the 
Prophet, "Ye are better informed (than I) concerning your secular 
affairs " ; and in view, likewise, of the custom which he set before 
us in the expedition of Badr, of making use of such experiments 
as have proved trustworthy, and such opinions as have proved 

' Yet it is evident that two things got the better of most of the 
philosophers: first, their excessive admiration for what had 
reached them of the works of the Greek philosophers, especially 
of Aristotle and Plato, and the pleasure which they took in follow- 
ing them blindly, without discernment; and second, the spirit 
which held sway among the people at that time. This latter 
influence was the more ominous of the two : for they plunged into 
the disputes which were taking place among the speculative 
theologians in matters of religion, and, in spite of the fewness of 
their numbers, came into collision, by reason of their sciences, 
with the views which were tenaciously held by the mass of the 
people. Then the defenders of the faith rose up against them. 
Al-Ghazzali came, and his disciples, and seized everything in the 
books of the philosophers that had to do with doctrines about 
God and general matters connected with them, and with the 
principles of substances and accidents, and with their views about 
matter and the composition of bodies, and, in short, everything 

124 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

that the dogmatic theologians conceived of as having any bearing 
on the bases of religion ; and they subjected it all to bitter criticism 
The later theologians went so far in following their example, that 
they were carried almost beyond the bounds of moderation. As 
a result, their position of influence was lost : the commonalty cast 
them aside, and the leading men paid no attention to them. Thus 
time brought to nought what the world of Islam had been expect- 
ing from their efforts. 

* This is the reason why questions of theology are mingled with 
views of philosophy in the books of later writers, such as you find 
in the works of Al-Baidawi, Al- ( Adud, and others. It is the reason, 
furthermore, why various diverse speculative sciences have been 
combined and made into one science ; and why the study of this 
one science has been pursued, both as concerns its premises and its 
investigations, in accordance with a method that is nearer to 
thoughtless repetition than to critical research. Consequently, 
the progress of science came to a standstill. 

'Then came the civil quarrels among the various lines which 
were contending for the kingdom. The ignorant gained the 
mastery, and destroyed any remaining traces of the speculative 
sciences that had had their source in the Muslim religion ; and the 
way became lost in devious by-paths. Those who study the books 
of that time will not find anything except discussions about words, 
and speculations about methods; and this, moreover, only in a 
few books that weakness has chosen and impotence has preferred. 
Then intellectual confusion spread among the Muslims, under the 
tutelage of ignorant leaders. There arose those who imagined 
within themselves things that science had never taught, and laid 
down principles that had never previously been thought possible 
for Islam. Nevertheless, they found assistance in the general lack 
of education, and in the difficulty of access to the sources of Islam. 
They routed reason from its domain, and thought only of passing 
judgement on people as guilty of error and unbelief. They went to 
such lengths in this, that they imitated certain peoples who had 
preceded them, in asserting that there was enmity between science 
and religion. And they said, in the falsehoods to which their 
tongues gave utterance: "This is permitted, and this other thing 
forbidden" ; "this is unbelief, and this other thing is Islam" ; but 
Islam was far beyond what they imagined, and God was above 
what they conceived and described. 

'But what has happened to the commonalty, in their religious 
beliefs and in the inner sources of their actions, as a consequence 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 125 

of this long period of distraction and these numberless occasions 
of confusion ? A great evil, and a universal calamity. 

"This is a summary account of the history of this science (dog- 
matics), which shows how it was founded upon principles which 
are taken from the Perspicuous Book ; but how, in the end, the 
hands of sectarians have played with it, until they have deflected 
it from its purpose and carried it beyond its limits.' 1 

It may be gathered from the foregoing historical account, 
that Muhammad 'Abduh felt that the proper sphere of philo- 
sophy, and the field in which it can render the greatest service, 
is in the investigation of the phenomena of nature, or to use 
his own phrase, 'the discovery of the secrets which are con- 
cealed in the bosom of the universe \ This field he elsewhere 
enlarges to include the facts of man's nature and of human 
history. From such study practical benefits may be expected, 
as he has indicated, particularly the advancements of the arts 
and the reinforcement of the order of society. That such 
practical benefits did not result for Islam was due to the fatal 
mistake, which the Muslim philosophers made, of entering 
the arena of religious discussions and attempting to apply 
their principles in that field. Had they not mixed up their 
arts with religion, says Muhammad Rashid Rida, in a note on 
the above account, and involved themselves in religious dis- 
putes, they would have been left to themselves to pursue their 
studies without interference, and, in that case, the sciences 
would have been advanced, and through them the arts would 
have been promoted and civilization would have become 
widespread. It was the opinion of Muhammad 'Abduh, he 
says further, that philosophy and the secular sciences should 
not be mixed up with questions of religion. 2 This was not 
because he believed that science and religion are mutually 
antagonistic. This much he infers above and elaborates else- 
where. But the two fields should be kept distinct, partly 
because in the field of religion, particularly in regard to the 
nature of God, there are well-defined limits to what reason 
can accomplish, or even attempt, whereas, in the natural 
world, no such limits are imposed ; and, partly, because the 

1 Risalah, pp. 20-4; Michel, translation, pp. 16-18. 

2 Ibid., p. 21, n. 2. 

126 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

handicap of religious intolerance and sectarian bias may- 
throttle the spirit of independent investigation, as the history 
of Islam has shown. If 'Abduh did not develop philosophy 
scientifically and systematically, he was, in part at least, but 
observing his own distinction, since he had devoted himself to 
the task of promoting a religious revival. 


Attitude regarding Reason and Science. 

Religion and Reason. 

THERE are two other questions which have appeared in 
the foregoing discussion, and which require some further 
elucidation, as they are essential to an understanding of 
'Abduh's conception of Islam and his general attitude towards 
the modern world. These are, first: What did he conceive to 
be the relation which exists between reason and religion, or, 
more particularly, between reason and the religion of Islam ? 
and, second: What of the relation between science and re- 
ligion ? Since these questions involve also his conception of 
the nature of religion and of science, respectively, it will be 
desirable to give a number of rather extensive quotations from 
his writings, beginning with the question of religion and 

The relation between the two is given briefly in his state- 
ment of the conception of the religion of Islam which he was 
endeavouring to inculcate: a religion, purified of all later 
growths and freed from sects and divisions ; this religion, he 
says, should be considered 'as one of the checks upon human 
reason, which God has bestowed to hold men back from 
excesses and to lessen their errors'. 1 While religion thus 
supplements and aids reason, at the same time reason sits in 
judgement upon religion. 

' Reason alone is not able to ascertain the causes which secure 
the happiness of nations, without a Divine director; just as an 
animal is not able to apprehend all the objects of sense by the 
sense of vision alone, but is in need, at the same time, of the sense 
of hearing, for example, to apprehend the objects of hearing. In 
like manner, religion is a general sense, the province of which is to 
discover means of happiness which are not clearly discernible by 
reason. But it is reason which has the final authority in the recog- 
nition of this sense, and in directing the exercise of it in the sphere 
for which it was given, and in the acceptance of the beliefs and 
1 Al-Manar, viii. 892 ; again in xxviii. 588. Cf . Michel, p. xlviii. 

128 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

rules of conduct which this sense discovers for it. How can the 
right of reason to do this be denied, since it is reason which ex- 
amines the proofs of these beliefs and rules of conduct, in order to 
arrive at a knowledge of them, and to be assured that they emanate 
of a certainty from God ? '* 

Islam is pre-eminently a religion of reason. The Kur'an 
has raised reason to a place of the first importance 'in that it 
has the final decision regarding the matter of happiness, and 
in the distinction between truth and falsehood, and between 
what is harmful and what is beneficial \ 2 Islam further recog- 
nizes that man is able by his intellect to arrive at a knowledge 
of God. In its summons to belief in the existence and unity 
of God, 'it depends only upon arousing the human intellect, 
and directing it to a consideration of the universe and the 
employment of true analogy, and a return to the order and 
arrangement of the universe and the consecutive linking up of 
causes and effects, in order to arrive thereby at the belief that 
the universe has one Maker, necessarily existent, knowing, 
wise, omnipotent; and that that Maker is one, in corre- 
spondence with the unity of the order seen in existing things. 
Thus it has set free the human intellect to follow the course 
which nature has made customary for it, without restriction, 
and aroused it to the consideration of creation and the various 
signs of God's power and goodness in nature, in order that, by 
reflection upon them, it might attain to the knowledge of 
God.' 3 This attitude towards reason opened a wide field for 
speculation and inquiry, 'especially since the summons of 
Islam to reflection in regard to created things was not in any 
way limited or conditioned ; because of the knowledge that 
every sound speculation leads to a belief in God as He is 
described in the Kur'an, without over-emphasizing His 
transcendence or defining His nature'. 4 

Inasmuch as belief in the existence of God is a fundamental 
article of faith, and this belief is founded upon reason, the 
priority of reason in Islam is apparent. He emphasizes this 

1 Risalah, p. 142 ; Michel, translation, p. 88 ; cf . Introd., p. xlviii. 

2 Ibid., p. 20; Michel, translation, p. 16. Cf. above, p. 123. 
8 Al-Islam wa al-Nasraniyyah, 3rd ed., 1341/1922, p. 48 sqq. 

4 Bisalah, pp. 9, 10. Michel, translation, p. 7. Quoted by Horten, Beitrdge, 
xiv. 80. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 129 

thought by saying: 'Thus in requiring faith in the existence 
and unity of God, Islam depends upon nothing but proof of 
the reason and human thought, which follows its natural 
order; it does not astonish you with miracles, nor extra- 
ordinary occurrences nor heavenly voices. . . . Muslims are 
generally agreed that belief in God precedes belief in the 
apostles. It is therefore not proper to arrive at belief in God 
as a result of the words of the prophets. On the contrary, one 
must believe in the existence of God before he can believe in 
the possibility of prophecy.' 1 

It is thus the sphere of reason to test the messages and 
credentials of the prophets. It is significant that he attempts 
to give to it full authority in interpreting the revealed text. 
Thus, the second principle of Islam he gives as 'the pre- 
cedence of reason over the literal meaning of the Divine Law 
in case of conflict between them \ In explanation of this he 
says: ' There is general agreement among Muslims that in 
case of conflict between reason and the evident meaning of 
what has been given by tradition (nakl), the conclusions which 
have been arrived at by reason are to be given the preference. 
Two possibilities then remain in regard to the tradition: 
either, to acknowledge the genuineness of what has been 
given in this way, while confessing inability to understand it, 
and resigning the matter to God and His knowledge ; or to 
interpret the tradition, while observing the laws of language, 
in such a way that it will agree in sense with what reason has 
established.' 2 In the RisahJi he states the same rule, as 
applied to the interpretation of prophecy, in a slightly dif- 
ferent manner. Perhaps this is due to a feeling that a more 
cautious statement is necessary in regard to prophecy, which 
can refer only to the sacred text of the Kur'an, whereas, the 
Divine Law is more inclusive. It is the duty of reason, he 
says, after it has determined that a prophet is to be accepted 
as a true prophet, to believe all that he came to reveal, even 
though the true meaning of it cannot be understood. This 
does not mean that something logically impossible must 
be believed. The^messages of the prophets cannot contain 
such impossibilities. But if the apparent sense of a passage 

1 Al-Islam wa al-Nasraniyyah , p. 51. a Ibid., pp. 54, 55. 

130 Muhammad f Abduk: Doctrines 

contains what seems to be a contradiction, 'reason must 
believe that the apparent sense was not intended. It is then 
free to choose between interpreting the passage consistently 
with the rest of the words of the prophet in whose message 
the doubtful passage occurs, and between resigning the matter 
to God and His knowledge.' 1 

In thus reaffirming what he believed to be the fundamental 
attitude of Islam in regard to reason, he was going contrary 
to what had been the established practice among Muslims for 
centuries, namely, taklid, or the acceptance of belief on the 
authority of others, without question or objection. This, 
naturally, was expected of the mass of the people, who were 
held to be incapable of arriving at a reasoned statement of 
belief. But it was also the principle followed by the learned, 
both in their attitude towards religion itself, and in their 
treatment of all the Muslim sciences, as before noted. 2 

Against this spirit, Muhammad 'Abduh had to struggle 
during his student days, and he opposed it throughout his 
life. 'I raised my voice', he says, 'to free the mind from the 
chains of belief on authority (taklid). ' 3 ' Islam ', he says in his 
Bisalah, ' declares openly that man was not created to be led 
by a halter, but that it is his nature to be guided by science 
and by signs of the universe and the indications of events — 
and that teachers are only those who arouse and direct and 
guide into the way of investigation.' 4 In his Commentary, on 
chapter ii, verse 243, of the Kur'an, he says : 

' How far those who believe in taklid are from the guidance of 
the ICur'an ! It propounds its laws in a way that prepares us to 
use reason, and makes us people of insight. ... It forbids us to 
submit to taklid. But they command us to follow their words 
blindly ; and if one attempts to follow the ICur'an and Usage of 
the Prophet, they oppose him with denial, supposing that in so 
doing they are preserving the religion. On the contrary, nothing 
else but this has vitiated the religion ; and if we continue to follow 
this method of blind acceptance, no one will be left who holds this 
religion. But if we return to that reason to which God directs us 
in this verse, and other verses like it, there is hope that we can 

1 Risalah, p. 143; Michel, translation, p. 88; cf. Michel, Introd., p. xlviii. 

3 Cf. above, p. 28. 3 Al-Manar> viii. 892; quoted also, xxviii. 588. 

4 Risalah, p. 175; Michel, translation, p. 107. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 131 

revive our religion. Thus it will be the religion of reason, to which 
all the nations shall have recourse.' 1 'Thus Islam set free the 
authority of the intellect from everything that had kept it in 
chains, and delivered it from all belief on authority that had kept 
it enslaved, and restored it to its kingdom, in which it should rule 
by its judgement and its wisdom ; at the same time, submitting 
to God alone in what it does, and coming to a stop within the limits 
imposed by the Divine Law. But there is no limit to what may be 
done within its limits, and there is no end to the speculation that 
may be conducted under its standards.' 2 

At the same time, he does not spare trenchant criticism, 
and biting sarcasm and ridicule, in discrediting those who 
advocate blind acceptance of beliefs. ' The hearts of the mass 
of the people', he says, 'have been infected by the 'Ulama 
with the disease of taklid, For the 'Ulama believe a certain 
thing, and then seek proofs for it ; and they are not willing to 
have the proof be other than agreeable to what they believe. 
If a belief is advanced contrary to their belief, they proceed 
to combat it, even though this should lead to the negation of 
reason entirely. For most of them believe and then adduce 
their proofs, and seldom do you find any among them who 
adduce their proofs in order to believe.' 3 The pages of his 
Commentary on the Kur'an abound with criticisms of the 
principle of belief on authority, and all who advocate it. Any 
utterance of the Kur'an which offers any support for the free 
use of reason or any opportunity to denounce those who 
oppose it, is employed to the full. Of many examples of this, 
the following, on chapter ii, verse 166, may be taken as typical. 
The verse reads: 'The infidels resemble him who shouteth 
aloud to one who heareth no more than a call and a cry! 
Deaf, dumb, blind; therefore they have no understanding.' 
On this verse he observes : 

' This verse clearly announces that belief on authority, without 
reason and guidance, is a characteristic of the godless. For one 
becomes a believer only when he grasps his religion with reason, 
and comprehends it with his soul, so that he becomes fully con- 
vinced of it. But he who is trained to simply admit, without the 

1 ALMandr, viii. 731, 732. 

3 Risalah, p. 177 ; Michel, translation, p. 108 ; quoted by Horten, Beitrage, 
xiv. 108. 3 Risalah, p. 72; Michel, translation, p. 46. 

132 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

use of reason, and to practice without thinking — even though it be 
something good — he is not to be called a believer. For the design 
of faith is not this, that a man should be drilled for the good, as 
though he were trained for it like an animal ; rather, that the reason 
and soul of the man should be elevated by knowledge and compre- 
hension . . . and that he should practice the good, not only for the 
reason that he is thoughtlessly imitating his fathers and ancestors. 
For this reason, the Kur'an here calls the unbelievers "deaf, dumb, 
blind, who have no understanding".' 1 

The principle upon which the advocates of tahlid based 
their claims, was that of reverence for the early generations 
of Muslims, who alone, they asserted, were capable of inter- 
preting Islam. For this reason, the right of ijtihdd, or 
independent investigation for the purpose of forming one's 
own opinion on any matter of religion, was denied to later 
generations. Muhammad 'Abduh, on the contrary, claimed 
equal participation of all generations in the 'grace -gifts' of 
God, and the right of ijtihad for the present generation, as 
for all others. Thus he says : 

'Islam turned aside the hearts of men from exclusive attach- 
ment to customs and practices of the fathers, which had been 
handed down from father to son. It attributed folly and levity to 
those who accept blindly the words of their predecessors. And it 
called attention to the fact, that precedence in point of time is not 
one of the signs of knowledge, nor a mark of superiority of intellect 
or intelligence ; but that the preceding generations and the later 
are on an equality so far as critical acumen and natural abilities 
are concerned. Indeed, the later generations have a knowledge of 
past circumstances, and a capacity to reflect upon them, and to 
profit by the effects of them in the world, which have survived 
until their times, that the fathers and forefathers who preceded 
them did not have.' 2 

It is particularly in the treatment of the canon law of 
Islam, that Muhammad f Abduh and his followers demand the 
right of independent investigation. Some further account of 
what they advocate in this direction will be given later. 3 But 

1 Al-Manar, vii. 442. Quoted by Goldziher, Koranauslegung, p. 364, 
together with other examples. 

2 Risalak, pp. 176, 177 ; Michel, translation, p. 108. Goldziher, Koranaus- 
legung, pp. 365, 366, gives examples from the Commentary on the Kur'an. 

3 Cf . below, Chapter VIII. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 133 

his belief in the necessity of the use of reason, and the right 
of each man to do so in his own way, appears frequently in all 
parts of his writings. He urged tolerance among the adherents 
of the different sects of Muslims, and between Muslims and 
the adherents of other religions. 1 In many matters of inter- 
pretation and belief he allowed individual freedom. Thus, at 
the conclusion of his Risdlah, he writes : 

' If any man believes in the Revered Book and its practical laws, 
but finds difficulty in understanding in its literal sense what it says 
concerning the Unseen World ; and if he, by the use of his reason, 
adopts as his interpretation truths for which he adduces proofs, 
while at the same time retaining his belief in a life after death and 
in rewards and punishments for actions and beliefs ; it being under- 
stood, that his interpretation does not detract anything from 
the value of the threats and promises, and does not destroy any 
part of the structure of the Divine Law as concerns its imposing of 
responsibility — that man is a true believer, even though it is not 
proper that his example in so interpreting should be followed. 
For in the Divine Laws, regard has been had to what the ability of 
the commonalty can attain to, not what the intellects of the few 
aspire to. And the principle in this is, that faith is assurance in 
one's belief regarding God, and His apostles, and the Last Day, 
with no restriction therein except the maintenance of reverence 
for what has been revealed by the prophets.' 2 

A final example may be taken from the close of his address 
to a gathering of the 'Ulama of Tunis: 'I have made these 
remarks of mine, but have not intended that those who hear 
them are required to accept them. Otherwise, I should be 
acting contrary to the independence of thought and freedom 
of opinion which I am advocating. However, I do not sup- 
pose that any one of my hearers would accept them, because 
required to, even though I sought to require it of them. But 
these remarks are an opinion which I offer to my hearers. If 
they find it correct, they may accept it ; if not, they have 
nought to fear but the bearing of the hardship of the free man 
in this assembly. And that is a lot in which both they and I 
share.' 3 

1 Cf. further below, Chapter VIII. 

3 Risdlah, p. 224; Michel, translation, pp. 137, 138. 

3 Tajslr surat al-'asr wa khitab 'dmm, 2nd ed., Cairo, 1 330/1912, p. 92. 

134 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

Religion and Science. 

It was natural, his attitude towards reason being what it 
was, that he should desire to promote the development of all 
the sciences among the Muslims. For he considered that if 
reason were exercised in study of the phenomena of nature, 
there would result, on the one hand, a knowledge of God 
which would be of religious and spiritual benefit ; and on the 
other, a discovery of the secrets of nature which would result 
in many practical benefits. Thus he says: 'Reflection upon 
the created world directs, of necessity, to worldly benefits, 
and lights up a path for the soul to the knowledge of the One 
of whom these benefits are the evidences and Whose light is 
clearly manifest in them.' 1 A basic text of the Kur'an in this 
connexion was Surah ii. 27 : 'He created for you all that is on 
Earth.' Reference to this verse recurs frequently in his 
writings ; a number of these references have occurred in 
quotations already given. 2 There is a reminiscence of it in 
the way in which he states the mission of the prophet Muham- 
mad. Part_o f his miss ion was, he says, to summon mg n_/tr> 
know that God had comm itted to the m all tha t wa s before 
tljgir jsyes in the univer se, and Tii^given_ fchem paw&c^ta, 
u ndersta nd it and to profiiTBy it without condition or lh nj&a- 
tion, except tne prac tice of moderation and jjie observance 
o ^hellmitation sset up by the just D ivine Law 7 . 3 Again he 
says : ' The KuPan also makes' such mention of the origin of 
the universe — of creation, &c. — as to further arouse the 
intellect to follow its natural course in discovering the original 
state of things and the laws which govern them. . . . The 
Kur'an does not restrict the mind in these things in any 
respect, but in many verses summons to a consideration of 
the signs of God in nature. . . , These verses would total as 
much as half of the Kur'an/ 4 

There is thus, essentially, no conflict between religion and 
science. Both are based upon reason, and both to a certain 
extent study the same phenomena, but each with its own 
object in view. 5 Since the Kur'an has encouraged the study 

1 Risdlah, p. 55; Michel, translation, p. 35. 2 Cf. above, pp. 123, 128. 

3 Risalah, p. 156; Michel, translation, p. 97. 

4 Al-Isldm wa al-Nasrdniyyah, pp. 49, 50. e Cf . Michel, Introd., p. xlix. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 135 

of the physical universe, without imposing any limits to such 
study, religion cannot be held to be other than friendly to 
science. Religion, he says, regarded as a check upon human 
reason in order to lessen its errors, 'is, in this sense, to be con- 
sidered a friend of science, encouraging the study of the 
secrets of the universe, summoning to regard for established 
truths, and requiring dependence upon them in the formation 
of character and the improvement of actions'. 1 In another 
place he writes : 'The world will not come to an end, until the 
promise of God to make His light complete will have been 
fulfilled, and religion will take science by the hand, and they 
will aid one another in rectifying both the intellect and the 
heart/ 2 

Such was his respect for science, that he urges upon his 
fellow Muslims, in all his writings, the duty of the acquire- 
ment of the sciences in which Western nations excel, in order 
to be able to compete with these nations. In one of his early 
articles in Al-Ahrdm, he wrote: 'We see no reason for their 
progress to wealth and power except the advancement of 
education and the sciences among them. Our first duty, then, 
is to endeavour with all our might and main to spread these 
sciences in our country. ' 3 On the other hand, it is only as the 
hearts of the people are purified, and their souls uplifted, and 
their characters ennobled, by a return to the true Islam that 
they can hope for success in this competition with other 
nations. This is a frequent note in the writings of Muhammad 
'Abduh, and also of his followers, particularly in Al-Manar. 
The following is a characteristic statement: 'The Muslims, if 
their characters are disciplined by their religion, can compete 
with Europeans in the acquirement of the sciences and educa- 
tion, and equal them in civilization.' 4 

The frequent references in the Kur'an to the phenomena of 
nature afford him many opportunities, in his comment on 
these passages, to press home the duty of the study of the 
natural sciences. Thus, in connexion with Surah ii. 159, after 
paying his respects to those who, 'in the name of religion, set 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 892. 

2 Al-Isldm wa al-Nasraniyyah, p. 134, quoted by Michel, p. xlix. 

3 Cf. above, p. 39. ' 4 Tarlkh, ii. 480. 

136 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

themselves against the pursuit of an education in natural 
science ', and showing how the study of nature rather than 
dialectic speculation, leads to the knowledge of God, he con- 
cludes : ' God has sent down two books : one created, which is 
nature, and one revealed, which is the Kur'an. The latter 
leads us to investigate the former by means of the intelligence 
which was given to us. He who obeys, will become blessed; 
he who turns away, goes towards destruction.' 1 In connexion 
with the study of the natural sciences, perfection in the 
technical sciences is also urged in order that Muslim nations 
may be prepared for the eventuality of war in defence of their 
rights. Thus, in connexion with Surah iii. 200, he quotes 
Surah viii. 60-2, which read: 'Or if thou fear treachery from 
any people, render them the like. . . . Make ready then against 
them what force ye can, and strong squadrons whereby ye 
may strike terror into the enemy of God and your enemy.' 
From these verses he deduces the principle that 'the un- 
believers must be fought with the same means which they 
employ for fighting against Islam. It is included in this, that 
one must rival them in our time in the manufacture of cannon 
and rifles, of warships and airships, and other kinds of imple- 
ments of war. This all makes perfection in the technical and 
natural sciences to be an inescapable duty of the Muslims, for 
only by this means can military preparedness be attained.' 2 

Muhammad : Abduh's own grounding in the modern sciences 
was not profound, as might naturally be expected of one 
whose scholastic training was that of an Azhar shaikh, and 
whose acquaintance with modern science was acquired out- 
side of the school-room and largely by his own efforts, after he 
had been inducted into the study of it by Jamal al-Dm. 3 Yet 
he shows considerable familiarity with modern developments 
in a number of fields, especially those which concerned his 
interpretation of the Kur'an and his efforts in defence of 
Islam. At the same time, he is in some respects surprisingly 
backward, as Horten has pointed out ; as in maintaining, for 
example, that the mountains solidify the earth and form its 

1 Al-Manar, vii. 292. Cf. full quotation in Goldziher, Koranauslegung, 
pp. 352, 353. 

2 Al-Manar, xii. 408, 409. Quoted by Goldziher, op. cit., p. 354. 

3 Cf. above, p. 34. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 137 

basis, and prevent the interior fluxing material from escaping ; 
that the sea covers hell, as scientific investigation shows and 
volcanic eruption confirms , &c . x In illustration of his informa- 
tion in matters of science, and, at the same time, of the way 
in which he used this information in his interpretation of the 
Kur'an, the following examples are given. 

On Surah ii. 18, 19 : ' A storm cloud out of heaven, big with 
darkness, thunder and lightning,' &c, he writes : 

'The truth about lightning and thunder and the storm cloud 
and the reasons for their occurrence, is not among the subjects 
investigated by the ICur'an, because this belongs to the science of 
nature and the happenings of the atmosphere, which it is possible 
for men to know by their own exertions and does not depend upon 
inspiration. The external phenomena only of things are men- 
tioned in the l£ur'an, to incite consideration and supply proofs 
and direct the reason to the study by which the understanding 
and reason will be strengthened. The knowledge of the universe 
waxes and wanes among peoples, and differs with differences of 
time ; for example, people once believed that lightning was caused 
by material bodies, &c. . . . In the present day it appears that 
there is in the universe a fluid substance called electricity, some of 
the effects of which are seen in the telegraph, telephone, tram- 
cars, electric lights in houses and streets,' &c. Then follows a 
description of the way in which electric lights are caused by the 
meeting of positive and negative currents, an explanation of the 
occurrence of lightning and thunder, and the use of the lightning 
rod, &c. 2 

Again, questions affecting modern medicine are raised in 
the interpretation of Surah ii. 276 : 'They who swallow down 
usury shall arise (in the Resurrection) only as he ariseth 
whom Satan hath infected by his touch,' 

'The common interpretation', he Says, 'refers this to the Resur- 
rection, at which time, says Tradition, those given to usury will 
arise as epilectics. But the connexion says nothing to indicate a 
reference to the Resurrection ; whereas this interpretation depends 
upon Tradition, and is like most other traditional interpreta- 
tions in being invented to explain a difficult passage which the 

1 Beitrage, xiv. 105. Goldziher, Koranauslegung, p. 355, remarks: 'He 
is indeed saturated through and through with the ideas which he acquired 
during his sojourn in Europe, and also later from literature.' 

a Al-Mandr t iv. 334 sqq. Cf. Goldziher, Koranauslegung, p. 356. 

138 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

interpreters did not understand. But the suggestion of Ibn ' Ativan 
is nearer the truth : they shall arise, that is, in their ordinary move- 
ments, as the one whom Satan hath infected, &c, that is, like an 
epilectic. The nervous irregular movements of the usurer indicate 
his intense absorption in gain by resorting to other than natural 
means of increase. The disordered and irregular character of his 
motions suggests the comparison with the epilectic.' Then is 
given a possible reconciliation of this view with the traditional 
view regarding the Resurrection. 

'The comparison in this verse', he continues, 'is based on the 
idea prevalent among the Arabs, that an epileptic had been 
touched by Satan, an idea that had become proverbial with them. 
The verse does not confirm, nor does it deny, the truth of the idea 
expressed in the comparison, that is, that the epilectic has actually 
been touched by Satan and that his condition is due to that. The 
'Ulama differ. The Mu'tazilites held that Satan has no other 
influence over man than suggestion, others held that epilepsy is 
his work. Physicians to-day consider it a nervous disease which 
can be treated as similar diseases, by drugs and other modern 
methods and, some say, by suggestion. This is not an indisputable 
proof that the unseen creatures called "Jinn" cannot possibly 
have any sort of connexion with persons disposed to epilepsy, so 
that under certain conditions they might be the cause of it. The 
'Ulama say that the Jinn are living bodies which cannot be seen. 
The "Manar " has said more than once that it is permissible to say 
that the minute living bodies which to-day have been made known 
by the microscope and are called microbes, may possibly be a 
species of the Jinn. It has been proven that the microbes are the 
cause of most diseases. . . . However, we Muslims are fortunately 
under no necessity of disputing with science or the findings of 
medicine regarding the correction of a few traditional interpreta- 
tions. The Kur'an itself is too elevated in character to be in opposi- 
tion to science.' 1 

Nor have certain particular questions that have been 
raised by modern science, such as questions concerning the 
origins of the universe and of natural life, been neglected. 
f Abduh endeavours to deal with the origin of the human race 
as stated in the Kur'an, for example, in a way that is capable 
of harmonization with Darwinian views. The definite state- 
ment of Surah iv. 1, requires careful handling: '0 men! fear 

1 Al-Manar, ix. 334, 335. Cf. Goldziher, op. cit., pp. 356 sqq. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 139 

your Lord who hath created you of one man (nafs, soul) and 
of him created his wife and from these twain hath spread 
abroad so many men and women.' He begins with a dis- 
cussion of the address, '0 men!' It is generally held that 
Surahs beginning with this form of address belong to the 
Meccan period. But Shaikh 'Abduh holds that the address 
is general, no one group or people being particularized. By 
one 'soul' is not intended expressly by the text nor by the 
literal meaning a reference to Adam. It is thus possible for 
each people or group to interpret it of their own origin accord- 
ing to their own beliefs. Those who think that all are descended 
from Adam can refer it to him ; and those who think that each 
race has its own progenitor, can refer it to him. 

Among the indications of the context that Adam is not intended, 
is the general and indefinite way in which the descendants are 
referred to: 'many men and women'. It would have been more 
fitting if Adam had been intended to say, 'all men and women'. 
Further, since the address is general to all peoples, many of whom 
know nothing about Adam and Eve, how could such a particular 
reference be intended ? The origin of the human race from Adam 
is a history derived from the Hebrews, whereas the Chinese, for 
example, have a different tradition. Science and investigation 
into the history of mankind have discredited the Hebrew tradi- 
tion. And we Muslims are not obliged to believe the account of 
the Jews, even though it be traced back to Moses ; for we have no 
confidence that it is from the Tawrah (Books of Moses) and that 
it has remained as Moses gave it. . . . v God has left here the matter 
of the soul from which he created men indefinite, so let us leave it 
in its indefiniteness. Then if what European investigators are 
saying, that each race has its own progenitor, be proven, that will 
not be derogatory to the Kur'an as it would be to the Tawrah 
because of its greater definiteness.' He concludes: 'I should like 
to know what those who believe that the question is decided by 
the wording of the Kur'an would say concerning one who is con- 
vinced on scientific grounds that mankind is from several origins ? 
Would they say, if he wished to become a Muslim but did not wish 
to give up his scientific conviction, that his faith is not valid and 
his Islam is not to be accepted, even though he is convinced that 
the Ij^ur'an is from God, and that there is no text conflicting with 
his conviction ? >x 

1 Al-Mandr, xii. 483 sqq. ; Goldziher, op. cit., pp. 358, 359. 

140 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

In like manner, room is found in the Kur'an for the prin- 
ciples of 'the straggle for existence ' and 'the survival of the 
fittest \ These are recognized as belonging to the category of 
the laws of God in nature and in human history. It will be 
convenient, therefore, to give a word at this point to the 
question of natural law, which is a matter to which frequent 
allusion is made in the writings of Muhammad 'Abduh and 
his disciples. Those familiar with the orthodox theology of 
Islam will recognize that there is no place in it for natural law 
in the scientific sense, because of the absolute predominance 
assigned to the will of God as the immediate active cause of all 
existence and all that happens and the maintenance of all 
things in existence by continued creation. 1 But 'Abduh, 
while not abating essentially the pre-eminence of the will of 
God as the immediate cause of things, yet finds in the phrase 
which occurs a number of times in the Kur'an, namely, 'the 
Usage, or Custom, (Sunnah) of God', an expression of the 
idea of natural law. 2 The basal text in this connexion and the 
one most frequently quoted is Surah xxxiii. 62: 'Such hath 
been the Custom (Sunnah) of God with those who lived before 
them ; and no change canst thou find in the Custom of God ' ; 
or the similar verse, Surah xxxv. 43: 'Look they then for 
aught but God's Custom with reference to the peoples of old ? 
Thou shalt not find any change in the Custom of God, — Yea, 
thou shalt not find any variableness in the Custom of God.' 

The foregoing verses refer particularly to God's dealing 
with men, but the idea of law is also applied generally to 
nature. Thus the following statement : ' The universe has laws 
(sunnah, plural sunan) in the composition of precious stones 
and the rocks, in the growing of plants, in the life of animals, 
in the assembling of bodies and their scattering, in their com- 
position and dissolution. This is what we designate as the 
secondary origin.' In discussions of nature and of astronomy, 

1 Vide, for example, the statement of the Ash'arite positions in Mac- 
donald, Development of Muslim Theology, pp. 201 sqq. 

2 An idea of the significance of the word 'sunnah' may be had, if it is 
recalled that the 'Usage (Sunnah) of the Prophet', that is to say, his 
general practice as it may be gathered from what he did and said and 
approved, either explicitly or implicitly, is one of the recognized bases of 
Muslim canon law. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 141 

these laws are treated as matters of scientific fact. But more 
frequent attention is given to the laws of society. Thus the 
same statement continues : ' Mankind has special laws (sunan) 
in their social life, by which they are governed. Thus their 
strength and weakness, wealth and poverty, might and 
humiliation, domination and subjection, life and death, all 
these furnish illustrations which should induce men to obey 
the laws of God. Those who live according to the laws of God 
continue to be the ones who hold the widest dominion of all 
the nations.' 1 The Kur'an was the first book to take account 
of these laws of society. To ignore these laws or to disobey 
them is futile. No nation that has ever done so has been a 
dominant nation. Thus on Surah xiii. 12: 'Verily God does 
not change the state of a people until they change their own 
state,' he says : * Nations have not fallen from their greatness 
nor have their names been wiped off the slate of existence, 
except after they have departed from those laws which God 
prescribed with supreme wisdom. God will not change the 
state of a people from might and power and wealth and peace, 
until that people change their own state of intellectual know- 
ledge and correctness of thinking and perception, and con- 
sideration for the works of God towards previous nations who 
went astray from the path of God and therefore perished. 
Ruin overtook them because they turned aside from the law 
of justice and the path of insight and wisdom . . . and chose 
to live in falsehood rather than die in the aid of the truth.' 3 
The reason why Muslims have fallen a prey to other nations 
is because they have neglected to obey the injunction of the 
Kur'an to study the laws to which it points the way. It is of 
no avail for them to plead that they are Muslims, or even 
pious Muslims ; it is not a matter of piety alone. Thus Surah 
iii. 117 indicates 'that God will not destroy a nation on ac- 
count of its idolatry, if otherwise it does justice and observes 
the rules of progress \ 3 

In connexion with Surah ii. 249-53, which contain the 
stor^ of Saul and David and the war against the Philistines, 

1 Al-Manar, ix. 54, 55. The statement is in reality by Muhammad 
Rashld Rida, but gives in succinct form the ideas of Muhammad 'Abduh. 
3 Tarlkh, ii. 323, 324. s Al-Manar, ix. 56. 

142 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

a series of 'general sociological laws of the Kur'an' is given. 
These have to do with the political affairs of nations and their 
general progress. One of the laws, drawn from verse 252: 
' Were it not for the restraint of one by means of the other, 
imposed on men by God, verily the earth had been utterly 
corrupted ', is : ' God's restraint of men by setting some against 
others is a part of his general laws, and it is what is referred 
to to-day as the "struggle for existence". War is said to be 
natural among men for it is part of the struggle for existence. 
But God's restraint of men is not confined to war but includes 
all forms of struggle which require contest and victory. This 
is not a discovery made by the materialists of the present 
day. ' Another law is suggested by the clause ' verily the earth 
had been corrupted'. This confirms the law which scientists 
have called 'natural selection' or 'survival of the fittest'. 
This is evident from the fact that the preservation of the 
earth from corruption is the result of the contest between 
different peoples, that is, the mutual struggle is the cause of 
the survival of the truth and of uprightness'. 1 The same 
principles are deduced from other passages. Many applica- 
tions of these principles are found ; as in the following : ' Dif- 
ferences of views regarding the universe are only the result 
of the struggle of truth with falsehood. But the truth must be 
victorious and prevail over falsehood, by means of the co- 
operation of thoughts or by the conquest of strong thoughts 
over the weak.' 2 

It was f Abduh's firm conviction that the spirit of Islam, as 
truly conceived, was tolerant of all scientific investigation. 
In his writings in defence of Islam, he maintains that it has 
been more tolerant in the past than has Christianity ; 3 and in 
his Risalah he quotes with approval the words of a European 
writer, whose name he does not mention, who ascribes the 
rise of the spirit of investigation in Europe in the sixteenth 
century to the influence of Islam. 4 At the same time, he 
laments the rigidity of Islamic thought in the present day, 
and censures the spirit of those who forbid modern learning 

1 Tafslr al-Manar, ii. 483 sqq. ; also in Al-Mandr, viii. 929, 930; cf. 
Goldziher, op. cit., pp. 355, 356. 

3 Risalah, p. 55 ; Michel, translation, p. 35. 3 Cf . above, pp. 90 sqq. 

4 Risalah, p. 178; Michel, translation, p. 109. 

Mohammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 143 

and modern thought. But he is sanguine in his belief that the 
present state of affairs will pass. 'The light of this Glorious 
Book (the Kur'an), which has been followed by science 
whithersoever it has gone, East or West, must once more 
return to full manifestation ; and this Book will rend the veils 
of error, and it will return again to its original place in the 
hearts of the Muslims, and will find a resting place there. 
And science will follow it ; since science is its true friend, which 
associates with it only, and depends upon it alone.' 1 

1 Al-Isldm wa al-Nasraniyyah, p. 132. 



Exposition of Doctrines, 
Doctrine of God. 

IT has been remarked before that the earliest thought of 
Muhammad 'Abduh regarding the nature of God was 
pantheistic in its character. 1 In Al-waridat, he maintained 
the doctrine of the unity of all existence. Just as 'the house 
is one state possible to the parts of which it is composed and 
one of the ways in which they may be considered ; and the 
tree is one stage in the life of the seed and one of its states ; 
and the waves are one stage of the sea and one of its states*, 
so the universe in all the aspects of its existence is but an 
expression of the existence of God. 'We say there is no exis- 
tence except his existence, and no attribute except his attri- 
butes. He is the Existent One, and other than He is non- 
existent.' 2 Since 'perfection is existence, and imperfection is 
non-existence', He is perfection itself, being entirely free from 
non-existence and having fully attained to His own self- 
realization. 'He is perfection in Himself, since He has no 
non-existence in any of His aspects ; and all perfection is the 
manifestation of His perfection.' 3 Since the varying pheno- 
mena of nature are but manifestations of His own being, He 
knows all things by His knowledge of Himself (i.e. His self- 
consciousness) ; for His knowledge and His essence are iden- 
tical. 'You must therefore say that His knowledge is His 
very essence, and He by His essence is His very knowledge, 
... So, as His essence is one in itself, and multiplicity takes 
place only in the world of manifestations, so thus His know- 
ledge of all things is one in itself, and its multiplicity is in the 
world of manifestations.' But the fact that the outward 
phenomena are so manifold, should not obscure the essential 
identity of knowledge and being. 'For the sea, did it have 

1 Cf. above, p. 40. 

2 Tarlkh, ii. 13; cf. Horten, Beitrage, xiv. 94. On the subject of the 
doctrine of God, as a whole, cf . Horten, op. cit., pp. 92 sqq. ; also, Michel, 
pp. lv. sqq. 3 Tarikh ii. 13. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 145 

knowledge of itself, would not need another knowledge with 
which to have knowledge of its waves.' 1 

In the same treatise, he maintains, as against Al-Ash'ari, 
that the knowledge of God extends to the essence of things, 
since He is their cause, and does not embrace simply their 
outward manifestations ; and, as against the disciples of the 
philosophers, that He has a knowledge of particulars and not 
simply of universals. He also denied the doctrine of the 
mystics, that time is a form of the existence of God, and 
therefore all things in time are present before Him. Rather, 
He knows all things by His knowledge of Himself. 2 Further, 
he argues against the thesis of those who followed the teaching 
of the philosophers, that His knowledge concerning particu- 
lars was by means of the formation of mental images, or con- 
cepts, within Himself. Bather, he maintains, He knows 
things by His knowledge of His essence, which is His essence 
itself. 3 

In his later Risalah, however, there is no trace of this earlier 
pantheistic teaching. He states the argument for the exist- 
ence of God which is derived from the contingency of things, 
as it has been taken over by the Muslim theologians from their 
philosophers, who, in turn, borrowed it from the Greek 
philosophers. This argument is based on the recognition that 
all things must have a cause ; but this cause must, in turn, 
have a cause ; and thus the mind is led, by a chain of causes, 
to affirm a final First Cause, which is Self -existent Necessary 
Being, existing from all eternity, which is the cause of all 
things. 4 This line of reasoning is confirmed by a study of the 
harmony and order which exist in the universe, and the 
evidence of the linking up of causes and their effects, all 
furnishing manifestations of wisdom and design. Reason is 
thus led to believe in a Divine Creator, who is necessarily 
existent, knowing, wise, omnipotent, and even to assert the 
unity of the Creator, in correspondence with the unity of the 
order seen in existing things. 'Is it possible that simple 
coincidence, which is called Chance, should be the source of 

1 Tarlkh, ii. 17, 18. 2 Ibid., pp. 15-17. Cf. Horten, op. cit., pp. 95, 96. 

3 Ibid., p. 15. 

4 Risalah, pp. 29 sqq. ; Michel, translation, pp. 2 

146 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

this, orderly system, and the originator of those rules upon 
which the things of the universe, whether important or in- 
significant, are based ? ?1 

Certain of the attributes of the Creator are discoverable by 
reason. They have also been confirmed by revelation. These 
are: priority, that is, existence from all eternity; con- 
tinuance, that is, existence to all eternity ; the impossibility 
of composition in His essence ; life, knowledge, will, power, 
unity. These are all arrived at by reason and proof : for ex- 
ample, knowledge is necessary on a priori grounds and is sup- 
ported by the evidence of order and harmony in the universe. 2 
He argues for the unity of God, on the ground that, were 
there more than one Necessarily Existent Being, their deeds 
would be at variance because the knowledge and the will of 
each would not be identical with the knowledge and will of 
the others. Thus there would be conflict and confusion in the 
universe, and its order would be subverted, indeed, all order 
would be impossible. Still further, the existence of any con- 
tingent things would be impossible ; for these things would 
necessarily be brought into existence in accordance with the 
conflicting knowledge and wills of the supposed Creators, and 
thus each separate thing would necessarily have a number of 
existences, which is impossible. Thus the Kur'an says: 'If 
there were in them (the heavens and the earth) gods other than 
Allah, they would have been corrupted,' Surah xxi. 22. But 
this corruption does not exist, as is known by intuition.? 
Besides these attributes which can be known by reason, 
there are others which cannot be so known, although they 
are not contrary to reason. These have been revealed by the 
Kur'an. They are : speech, and hearing. 

We know, and must believe, that God possesses these 
attributes. But how He possesses them, and whether they 
are identical with His essence or separate from it, and many 
other questions which theologians have discussed at great 
length, cannot be known by human intellects and are not 
to be investigated. Thus with a brief reference, 'from a dis- 

1 Risdlah, p. 43 ; Michel, translation, p. 29. And cf . above, p. 128. 
3 Ibid., p. 41 ; Michel, translation, p. 27. 
3 Ibid., p. 48; Michel, translation, p. 31. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 147 

tance', to use his own phrase, he dismisses some of the major 
questions which have troubled Muslim theologians, 1 However, 
the orthodox position regarding these attributes is reaffirmed : 
although they may be similar in name to attributes and quali- 
ties ascribed to human beings, they are in reality not the same 
in nature. * God does not resemble any of His creatures, and 
there is no relation between them and Him, except that He is 
the one who brought them into existence, and they belong to 
Him and will return to Him.' 2 The expressions, 'hands', 'face', 
' settling Himself upon the throne', &c, which are used by the 
Kur'an, are metaphors which were understood without diffi- 
culty by the Arabs to whom they were addressed. 3 A simple 
statement of belief, he gives in the following: 'That which 
faith requires us to believe, is to know that He is existent, and 
that He does not resemble created things ; that He is eternal , 
without beginning and without end ; that He is living, knowing, 
willing, powerful ; that He is unique in being the One whose 
existence is necessary, unique in the perfection of His 
attributes, unique in the creation of His creatures ; and that 
He is a speaker, a hearer, a seer, and possesses the related 
attributes which the Divine Law has mentioned by name.' 4 

God acts always of free choice, which is based upon His 
knowledge, His will, and His power. None of His acts, nor 
any part of the course which He pursues with His creatures, 
proceed from Him as blind causality, or as something 
required by existence, without consciousness and will on 
His part. He is not required to have regard for what is best 
for the universe, in a way that would oblige Him to follow 
a certain course of action, the omission of which would sub- 
ject Him to censure. Rather, the order of the universe and 
what is best for it in the highest degree, are determined for 

1 Cf. above, p. 119. 

2 Risalah, p. 168; Michel, translation, p. 104; also, p. 223, Michel, p. 137. 
This seems to be the statement which he adopts. But there is an earlier 
statement which differs somewhat from this. He says: 'The I£ur'an 
describes God by attributes which, though nearer to transcendence than 
descriptions of former generations, yet partake with human attributes, either 
in name or in genus (jins), such as power, choice, hearing, sight.' 'In this \ 
says Rashld Rida, 'he has chosen the first of two views which are held ', p. 9 ; 
Michel, p. 7, Cf. Horten, op. cit., p. 79, n. 5. 

3 Risalah, p, 169 ; Michel, translation, p. 104. 4 Ibid., p. 57 ; Michel, p. 36. 

148 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

Him by the fact that the universe is a consequence (athar) of 
Necessary Existence, which is the most perfect existence. 
The perfection of the universe is only a consequence of the 
perfection of the Creator. 1 In another place, he affirms that 
God's acts, such as creation, sustenance, &c., are character- 
ized by contingency, that is, are neither required by reason 
nor prohibited. None of His acts are incumbent upon Him, 
not even by any necessity in His own nature. 2 

On the question whether the Kur'an is identical with God's 
attribute of speech and therefore eternal and uncreated, 
a question which has received bitter and acrimonious discus- 
sion in Islam, which has led even to persecution, 'Abduh 
maintained in the first edition of his Eisdlah that the Kur'an 
was created. But his friend, Muhammad Mahmud Shankiti, 
reminded him that this statement was not in accord with the 
orthodox belief, which is that the speech of God as an attri- 
bute, of which the ideas of the Kur'an are an expression, is 
eternal, but that the manifestations of it, including the words 
of the Kur'an which are pronounced and read, are created. 
Shaikh 'Abduh deferred to this criticism, and in subsequent 
editions a statement was included which accorded with the 
accepted position. In the fifth edition, however, all discussion 
of the question is omitted, and only the following brief state- 
ment occurs: 'The Kur'an declared that it is the speech of 
God. Now the source of the speech which proceeds from God 
must necessarily be one of His attributes, eternal by reason 
of His eternity.' 3 

Doctrine of Man. 

Something has already been said of the origin of man. 4 

1 Risdlah, pp. 45, 46; Michel, translation, p. 30. Michel (Introd., p. Ixii) 
points out that in thus regarding the principle of causality from the point 
of view, not of physical but of moral necessity, he is following a thesis of the 
later Ash'arite theologians, which is intermediary between the views of 
Ash'arl and those of the Mu'tazilites. 

a Ibid., p. 58; Michel, translation, p. 37. The phrase which he uses to 
describe contingency is * special possibility' (al-imkan al-khass), a term used 
by Avicenna. Cf. Horten, Beitrdge, xiv. 98. 

8 Ibid., p. 50; Michel, translation, p. 33. The note on p. 50, together 
with Al-Manar % i. 465, 466, give an account of the change of text. Cf. 
Michel, p. lviii ; Beitrdge, xiv. 98. 4 Cf. above, pp. 138, 139. 

Muhammad "Abduh: Doctrines 149 

He was created by God, but not necessarily as a single pair 
from whom all the race of man is descended. Reference may 
be made to the conception elaborated in his earliest treatise, 
that the individual souls of men are radiations of the uni- 
versal souls, which are divided into four classes. 1 But nothing 
of this appears in his later works. 

Man he says in the Risdlah, has always been greatly intrigued 
by the question of his own soul. He has tried to discover its nature, 
and its relation to the body which it inhabits. But with all that 
he has been able to learn concerning it, its real nature still eludes 
him. 2 But he has an inherent consciousness which he shares with 
all mankind, of all religions and even of no religion, with few 
exceptions, that the soul of man does not suffer extinction after 
death ; that it is immortal, although there is no general agreement 
regarding the nature of the existence which is vouchsafed to it 
after death. Nevertheless, this consciousness is so widespread, 
among all classes and conditions of men, that it cannot be ex- 
plained as an aberration of the intellect nor a delusion of the 
imagination. It is one of the instincts which are peculiar to human 
kind. There are those, of course, who deny this feeling, just as 
there are those who deny the sufficiency of reason and thought as 
guides to action and belief , who deny the existence of the world 
except in the imagination, who doubt everything, even the fact 
that they doubt. But this does not impair the correctness of the 
general instinct that reason and thought are the corner-stones of 
life and existence up to the end of the appointed period of life. In 
like manner, men's minds are conscious of the instinct, and their 
souls have the teeling, that this brief life is not the end of man's 
existence, but that he will lay aside his body just as he lays aside 
his clothes, and will continue to exist in another stage, even 
though he does not comprehend its exact nature. This is an 
intuition which wellnigh rivals an axiomatic truth in clearness. 
It causes every soul to be conscious that it was created with the 
capacity to receive limitless knowledge in innumerable ways, that 
it aspires to enjoyments without limit and without end, and that 
it is prepared for degrees of perfection that also are without limit. 
On the other hand, it is exposed to the sufferings of passion, and 
struggles against wandering desires, and illnesses which afflict the 
body, and wrestlings against many other kinds of requirements 

1 Tdrikh, ii. 20 sqq. Horten, op. cit., pp. 99, 100, gives a brief account. 

2 Cf. above, p. 118. 

150 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

and needs. The soul which is conscious of all these things, is led 
by its intuition to apprehend that the Creator has but apportioned 
its capacities to its needs in existence, that His treatment has not 
been purposeless nor inconsequential. Inasmuch, therefore, as it 
has the capacity to receive an infinite amount of knowledge and 
pain and enjoyment and perfection, it is not fitting that its exis- 
tence should be limited to a brief period of days or years. 1 

God endowed man with physical senses, by which to appre- 
hend what is necessary for his self-preservation and self- 
advantage ; and with reason, which is the guiding and con- 
trolling power, by which he distinguishes the right from the 
wrong, and what is harmful from what is beneficial. 2 He has 
endowed him also with an emotional nature, by which to 
apprehend the feelings and desires which take place in his 
soul. Man needs both reason and emotion. The two react on 
one another ; true knowledge rectifies the emotions, and the 
latter, when sound, are one of the strongest aids to knowledge. 
At times there may seem to be conflict between intellect and 
emotion ; as when one apprehends by his intellect the danger 
of a certain act, yet does it in obedience to his emotional 
nature. Yet, in reality, there is no conflict between them. 
What was held to be a conviction of the intellect, was only a 
form derived from others and was not based on real know- 
ledge ; or what was held to be an instinctive feeling, was due 
to imagination or inherited custom. 3 

The needs of men, as well as their capacities, differ in 
races and in individuals, in endless degrees of variation, 
according to race, climate, and condition. But all men possess, 
in some degree, the powers of memory, imagination, and 
reflection. 4 Man was created to choose what is best and most 
advantageous. But since he was created gregarious by 
nature and capable of individual and corporate perfection by 
gradual practice and co-operation ; and since practice is only 
possible by knowledge, and knowledge only by acquisition, 
man was in danger of being ignorant of the varying aspects 
of good and evil, advantage and harm, whether in the case 

1 Risalah, pp. 98 sqq. ; Michel, translation, pp. 61 sqq. 

3 ALManar, ix. 159, comment on Surah xcv. 4. 
8 Al-Isldm wa al-Nasraniyyah, p. 136. 

4 Risalah, p. 82; Michel, translation, p. 52. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 151 

of individuals or peoples. And ignorance degrades men. Thus 
both individuals and groups did harm to themselves when 
they thought they were doing good. By nature they were 
seeking the truth in which consisted their advantage, but 
their reason erred in defining useful truths and distinguishing 
them from harmful ones. Thus falsehood is not a character- 
istic of man by nature, but it is one of the accidents which 
adhere to him by reason of his being a person of will and 
choice in his actions and his knowledge. But he needs 
revealed religion to come to the aid of nature and reason. 1 

Man was created surrounded by passions, encompassed by 
desires, shackled by purposes — a captive in their power. He 
thinks only that is good which they approve, and beautiful 
which they admire. This is a matter which is wellnigh 
natural and instinctive. Man cannot overcome them, nor 
free himself from them. If, infrequently, their power can be 
lessened — although this is not within the power of every one 
— yet no one can do so, except he whose concerns have been 
widened and his impulses purified, so that he can ward off 
these attractive and compelling powers by means of various 
instrumentalities, chosen according to the end in view. 2 

Man thus appears as a creature of contradictions. 'Man is 
a strange being. He ascends by the power of his reason to the 
highest planes of the World of the Unseen (al-malahut). 
He reaches up by his thought to the most elevated truths 
concerning the World of Divine Omnipotence (al-jabarut). 
He matches his powers against the forces of the widest uni- 
verse, which are too great to be contended with. But he also 
belittles himself, and cowers and abases himself to the lowest 
degree of humiliation and submission, whenever any matter 
presents itself to him, the cause of which he does not know, or 
the origin of which he does not comprehend.' 3 

With respect to their essential nature, their inherent rights, 
and their relation to God, all men are on a plane of absolute 
equality. This was the teaching of the Prophet. 4 This state- 
ment includes women also, who are, in all these respects, on 

1 Al-Mandr, ix. 59. Cf . further, on the need for prophecy, below, p. 155. 

2 Tarikh, ii. 210, 211. s Bisdlah, p. 116; Michel, translation, p. 72. 
4 Ibid., p. 155; Michel, translation, p. 96. 

152 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

an equality with men. This is taught in the Kur'an, as, for 

example, in Surah iii. 193: 'I will not suffer the work of any 

among you that worketh, whether male or female, to be 


The passage shows, says Muhammad 'Abduh in his comment, 
that the decisive point in escape from punishment and success in 
excellence of reward, consists only in performing the works in 
proper manner and in sincerity. It shows also that men and women 
are equal before God in the matter of reward, when they are equal 
in their works. The reason for this equality is, according to this 
passage, that ' the one is the issue of the other '. There is, therefore, 
no difference between them in regard to humanity, and no superi- 
ority of one ovev the other in works. 'Any one who knows how all 
nations before Islam gave preference to the man, and made the 
woman a mere chattel and plaything of the man, and how some 
religions give precedence to the man simply because he is a man 
and she a woman, and how some people consider the woman as 
incapable of religious responsibility and as possessing no immortal 
soul — any one who knows all this, can appreciate at its true value 
this Islamic reform in the belief of the nations and their treatment 
of woman. Moreover, it will be clear to him that the claim of 
Europeans to have been the first to honour woman and grant her 
equality, is false. For Islam was before them in this matter ; and 
even yet their laws and religious traditions continue to place the 
man above the woman. ... To be sure, the Muslims have been at 
fault in the education and training of women, and acquainting 
them with their rights ; and we acknowledge that we have failed 
to follow the guidance of our religion, so that we have become an 
argument against it.' 1 

The question of Man's freedom of action as related to the 
power and decree of God received more than a proportionate 
share of attention in 'Abduh's writings. Two reasons seem 
to account for this fact, both of which appear in an article on 
predestination in the journal Al-'Urwah al-Wuihkah. The 
first reason is that Europeans, so he states, commonly attri- 
bute the present decadence of Muslim lands to the over- 
emphasis of Muslims upon the power of God and their supine 
submission to the Divine Will. But he roundly denies that 
any Muslim of the present day, of whatever sect, holds the 

1 Al-Manar, xii. 331. Cf. Goldziher, Koranatislegung, p. 363. Cf. further 
below, on polygamy and divorce, &c, Chapter IX, under 'Social Reform'. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 153 

view of complete compulsion, or believes that free choice 
has been taken away from him entirely. ' Rather all of these 
Muslim sects believe that they have a share of free choice in 
their actions which they call " acquisition" (kasb), and this is 
the basis of reward and punishment in the opinion of all of 
them.' 1 The second reason appears in the admission which he 
makes in spite of the foregoing denial. 'We do not deny that 
in the thought of the common people in Muslim lands this 
article has been contaminated with traces of the belief in com- 
pulsion, and this perhaps has been the cause of some of the 
misfortunes that have befallen them in past generations.' 
Elsewhere, he expresses the opinion that the question of free 
will has been one of the questions that were of the gravest 
danger to Islam, but fortunately, the passing of time has 
brought a more moderate view. 2 He is concerned, therefore, 
to promote this more moderate view. 

In his Bisalah, while retaining the customary theological 
phraseology, that man "acquires" his faith and the other 
works for which God holds him responsible, 3 he emphasizes 
with great clearness and force man's consciousness of his own 
freedom of action and his consequent responsibility for what 
he does. 'He is conscious of his voluntary actions, he weighs 
the consequences of them by his reason, and assigns value to 
them by his will, then performs them by a certain power 
within himself. All this the man of sound reason and senses 
knows without proof and without a teacher to instruct him.* 
At the same time, he learns by experience that there is in the 
universe a Power greater than his own. Yet even this recog- 
nition should not cause him to ignore his ability to control 
his own actions and direct the exercise of his natural powers. 
For 'the Divine Law is based upon this truth, and by means 
of it only can responsibilities be rightly imposed. He who 
denies any part of this, has denied the locus of faith in his own 
soul, which is his reason, which God has honoured by address- 
ing to it His commands and prohibitions.' 4 

1 Tdrikh, ii. 263 sqq., on ' Al-kada wa al-kadar'. Cf . also above, p. 87. 

2 Al-Mandr, vi. 589, on 'Surat al-'Asr' (ciii, 3). 

3 Risalah, p. 69; Michel, translation, p. 44. 

4 Ibid., pp. 65-7; Michel, pp. 42, 43. Cf. Horten's discussion, Beitrage, 
xiv. 102, 103. 

154 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

A brief but comprehensive statement of his teaching on the 
subject, appears in his comment on Surat al-'Asr. He says : 

* Consciousness and the senses testify that certain acts of a man 
are his own (as, for example, the killing of another). The Rur'an 
also speaks of "what ye do", and of "what your hands have ac- 
quired". However, another verse says: "God hath created you 
and what ye do". This is commonly interpreted in the sense that 
God occasions all a man's acts. But even this verse speaks of 
"what ye do". . . . All the requirements of the Divine Law are 
based on the principle that a man is responsible for what he does. 
There would be no justice in holding a man responsible for some- 
thing not within his power nor his will. . . . Thus the Divine Law 
and the senses and consciousness agree that a man's acts are his 
own. At the same time, there is no question that all things origi- 
nate with God and are attributable to Him. This is practically an 
instinctive recognition. . . . His power also is unquestionable. If 
He wished, He could rob us of the ability and will which He has 
given us. The following is a common experience : we make some 
plan, then things that were not in our plan intervene to prevent ; 
or we begin a work and are not able to finish it. All this is within 
the knowledge of God: this no one denies.' 

The practical conclusion is: 'It is therefore the duty of every 
Muslim to believe that God is the Creator of everything, in the 
manner He knows ; and to acknowledge that his own deeds are to 
be attributed to himself, as his own instinct tells him ; and to act 
according to what God has commanded, and avoid what He has 
prohibited, by exercising that power of choice which he finds 
within himself. And beyond that, he is not required to lift up his 
vision to what lies beyond all this.' 1 

At the same time, he held that the belief in God's predesti- 
nation of events, if rightly understood, exerted a moral 
influence of great value. 'Belief in predestination (kadd wa 
kadar), if stripped of the idea of compulsion, gives rise to 
characteristics of boldness, daring, courage, steadfastness, 
endurance of hardships and difficulties, generosity, and self- 
sacrifice on behalf of the truth. If one believes that the limit 
of one's life is appointed, and his daily sustenance provided, 
and all things are in the hands of God to direct as He will, 
how can he fear death in defence of the truth and in the ser- 

1 Al-Mandr, vi. 589, 590. For his attitude towards 'what lies beyond*, 
cf. above, pp. 116, 120. 

Muhammad 'Abduh; Doctrines 155 

vice of his country and his religion, or fear poverty in devoting 
his substance in accordance with the commands of God and 
the principles of sociology.' 1 It was because of the practical 
influence of this belief that he wished to rescue it from popu- 
lar misapprehension of it. In the same article, he writes : ' It 
is our hope that the 'Ulama of the present age will do their 
best to rescue this honourable belief from the taint of harmful 
innovation, and remind the commonalty of the teaching of 
such great men of the past as Al-Ghazzali and others, that 
the Divine Law requires of us activity, not inactivity and 
sloth under the guise of dependence on God/ 2 

Doctrine of Prophecy. 

The central place which the doctrine of prophecy occupies 
in the teaching of Muhammad 'Abduh, is indicated by the 
space which he devotes to the discussion of it in his Bisalah. 
Eight sections, or chapters, fully a third of the whole work, 
are occupied with his treatment of the doctrine and its related 
topics. 3 His other writings also give it a prominent place, 
especially his Commentary on the Kur'dn, which naturally 
affords many occasions for emphasis upon the importance of 
the doctrine. To him it is the heart of revealed religion, the 
Divine basis which is common to the three great revealed 
religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and the sphere 
in which Islam excels all other religions. The doctrine has 
always been regarded as important in Islam ; but Shaikh 
f Abduh seeks to give it new value. He emphasizes, as is his 
wont, its moral values, and tries to state it in terms that 
will reveal these values in modern life. 

His argument for the necessity of prophecy follows two 
separate lines, which may be distinguished as, respectively, 
the psychological and the sociological. 4 The psychological 
argument is based on the fact that man, as a thinking and 
reasoning and feeling being, is conscious of needs and capaci- 
ties which seem to reach out beyond the present brief 
physical existence and destine him for some kind of existence 

1 Tarlkh, ii. 267, article on ' Al-kada wa al-kadar'. 2 Ibid., p. 270. 

3 Risalah, pp. 91-168 ; Michel, translation, pp. 57-103. 
* Michel, p. lxxiii. 

156 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

after death. 1 So much he is conscious of by nature. But 
when he comes to inquire concerning the nature of that after 
life, who, or what manner of force, will control his destiny 
therein, and how he should conduct himself in this life with 
reference to that future life, he finds himself helpless and per- 
plexed. He needs some one wiser than himself, to allay his 
fears and direct him to the means of securing his happiness 
now and hereafter. 2 If it be asked, Why was not this know- 
ledge made instinctive within him, so that he would know 
naturally how to conduct himself in order to attain the 
greatest happiness ? the reply is, that man is a thinking 
personality, with capacities which vary in regard to such 
matters in different individuals, and the basis of his existence 
is investigation and the search for proof. Were such know- 
ledge made instinctive, he would be but following his instincts, 
like any other animal ; or would be an angel and not a dweller 
on this earth. 

The sociological argument is stated in slightly varying 
forms in different places. The following is from his comment 
on Surah ii, 209: 'Mankind was but one people', &c. 3 

By * one people ' is meant, not one religion as commonly inter- 
preted, but one people, in the sense of being bound together by 
social and economic ties, so that it is not possible for the indi- 
viduals to live apart from one another, and without receiving help 
from one another. Living thus together, and each one striving 
for his own advantage and for the necessities of life, it was inevi- 
table that differences in the natures of men and in the powers of 
intellect should lead to differences among men, because of their 
mutual rivalries. It was then that God, in His compassion, sent 
the prophets to teach men to respect one another's rights, and to 
teach them what these rights are, thus enabling each to attain 
happiness in this life, and through his obedience, happiness in the 
life to come. They also warned of failure and loss, both in this life 
and the future life, if their teaching was disregarded. Thus, the 
natural instincts of men alone are not sufficient to direct their 
efforts to what is best for them. They need another kind of 
guidance to combine with the guidance of thought and reflection, 

1 Cf . above, p. 149. 

2 Risalah, pp. 97 sqq. ; Michel, translation, pp. 60 sqq. 

3 Tafsir, ii. 283 sqq. ; Al-Mandr, viii. 41-67. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 157 

namely, the instruction given by the prophets. In the Msalah, 
emphasis is placed upon love and justice as the bonds which hold 
human society together. But all men are not actuated by these 
sentiments, just as all are not actuated by reason. No state of 
society, therefore, can resist the disintegrating influences of selfish- 
ness and injustice. Only the teaching and supernatural personal 
influence of the prophets can rescue society and restore it to a 
salutary state. 1 

Society, in its development, passes through three stages which 
are analagous to the stages of infancy, youth, and manhood 
through which the individual passes. In its infancy, society is 
under the discipline of the necessities of natural existence ; it is 
only concerned with physical needs, and the question of its own 
preservation and organization. It has neither time nor leisure for 
higher concerns. This is the period of the development of imple- 
ments, from stone to brass to iron, the growth of industry, the 
progress of the arts. This shows that the law {sunnah) of God 
with respect to nations is identical with that in respect to indi- 
viduals, that is, gradual progress from weakness to strength, from 
imperfection to perfection. In this stage, man was subject to the 
influence of his senses, and the fears and the imaginings which 
they aroused. But men gradually learned, by their experiences, 
some of the principles governing their corporate life, and rose from 
childhood to the early years of discernment and the ability to 
receive prophecy. 

Thus, the stage of youth is the stage of prophecy. When the 
intellect has attained a certain amount of strength and authority, 
and the soul has attained the power of dealing with things that are 
of harm pr advantage in a way that may subject him to deceptive 
influences, and when the desires and passions of the mind are 
enlarged, then there arises danger to society, from some of its 
members or all of them, just as in the case of the youth, whose 
passions may lead him to destruction. As God gave the power of 
intellect and reason to the youth at a time when his passions 
might lead him astray, to be a guide to him, so He gave to society 
the guidance of prophecy at the stage when its expanding know- 
ledge and consciousness of powers and desires, became a source of 
danger to it. Revelation was accommodated to the moral and 
intellectual capacity of each nation to which the prophets were 
sent. The nations were not all equally prepared to receive pro- 
phecy ; some were more ready than others, and these were fitted 

1 Risalah, pp. 105 sqq. ; Michel, translation, pp. 65 sqq. 

158 Muhammad *Abduh: Doctrines 

to assume leadership among the nations, according to the Sunnah 
of God. 

Thus the age of prophecy is one of light, of guidance, of goodness 
and happiness and uprightness and brotherhood, to all who accept 
it. This state continues so long as the people continue to direct all 
departments of public and private life according to what has been 
revealed. But a third stage appears. The farther the nation gets 
from the time of the prophet, the more hearts become hardened 
and minds darkened, lusts become powerful and learning decreases, 
religion is corrupted by its teachers, and differences appear on 
account of political influences and political leadership. This stage 
continues until the people bring about a reform and return to 
obedience to revelation. 1 

The sending of the prophets was, therefore, one of the 
means which God used for the completion of man's existence. 
The relation which prophecy sustains to the race as a whole, 
is like that which reason bears to the individual. 2 It is the 
purpose of the prophets to reveal the attributes by which 
God is to be known, not to reveal His existence, which may 
be apprehended by reason. 3 It is not their mission to act as 
teachers of the sciences or masters of the applied arts. All 
these belong to the means of material well-being and advance- 
ment to which God guides by means of the faculties with 
which He has endowed men ; although, in general, the pro- 
phets encourage men to make full use of these things for their 
own advancement. Any reference, therefore, which the 
prophets may make to any of these things, such as astronomy, 
or the form of the earth, and the like, is only to direct atten- 
tion to these things as proofs of the wisdom of the Creator, 
and lead men to ponder the mysteries of the universe and 
admire its wonders. 4 

The nature of prophecy, or inspiration, has been defined, 
he says, in canon law, as God's act of making known to one of 
His prophets a statute of the Divine Law, or the like. 'As for 
us', he continues, 'we define it, according to our method, as 
the knowledge, gained by religious insight (Hrfan), which a 
person finds within himself, with the certainty that it is from 
God, whether by means of some medium or without. . . . This 

1 Tafsir, ii. 296-300. 2 Risalah, p. 118; Michel, translation, p. 73. 

3 Ibid., p. 156; Michel, p. 97. 4 Ibid., p. 135; Michel, p. 84. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 159 

knowledge is distinguished from intuition (ilhdm) by the fact 
that the latter is a sensation (wijddn) of which the soul is 
made certain, and to the demands of which it yields, without 
being conscious on its part of whence it came ; and it is more 
like the sensations of hunger, thirst, sorrow and joy.' 1 But 
this knowledge is possible only for those chosen by God to 
become his prophets, whose nature He elevates, and whose 
minds and utterances He protects against error and falsehood. 
Their conduct, likewise, is rendered free from human error, 
and their bodies free from physical defect. 2 

As for the possibility of error on the part of the prophets, 
in matters which do not pertain to their message or the trans- 
mission of the Divine Law, some of the Muslims have ad- 
mitted the possibility, but the majority do not allow it. The 
incident of the Prophet's forbidding fertilization of the date- 
palm, was to teach men that the means which they employ 
for material gain and in the processes of the arts are com- 
mitted to their own knowledge and experience, and there is 
no restriction placed upon following these, so long as the Law 
is observed and the virtues conserved. As for the disobedience 
of Adam by eating from the forbidden tree, the reason for the 
prohibition and his punishment after eating is a secret which 
is hidden from us. The utmost that we can learn of it is that 
it became the occasion for the peopling of the earth by the 
sons of Adam ; as though the prohibition and the eating were 
two allegories of two successive stages in the life of Adam, or 
two different states in the existence of the human race. But 
God knows best. In any case, it is difficult to find proof, 
either in reason or in the Divine Law, which will decisively 
establish the view held by the majority. 3 

The prophets, in the fulfilment of the mission, are supported 
by Divine Providence in a miraculous way, which is a proof of 
the truthfulness of their mission. The evidentiary miracle 
(mu'jizah) of the prophet is not a logical impossibility. For 
contravention of the course of nature as we know it, is some- 
thing the impossibility of which has not been proven. The 
One who made the law of nature is the One who formed all 

1 Risdlah, p. 118; Michel, translation, p. 74. 

3 Ibid., p. 92 ; Michel, p. 58. 3 Ibid., pp. 95, 96 ; Michel, p. 60. 

160 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

existing things; therefore, it is not impossible for Him to 
make laws which apply especially to extraordinary occur- 
rences. We do not know them, but we see the effects of them 
at the hands of those to whom God has especially shown His 
favour. Our belief in the power and will of the Creator 
enables us to believe that it is not impossible for Him to 
bring about an event in any form, and as a consequence to 
any cause, which His omniscience may determine. 1 But the 
best attestation of their mission consists in the fact that 
' maladies of the heart are healed by the remedies which they 
bring, and weakness of resolution and reason is turned into 
power in the case of the peoples who accept their message. 
For it is axiomatic, that what is correct cannot emanate 
from a defective source, and perfect order cannot be restored 
by a disordered cause.' 2 

Muhammad is the last of the prophets, and the greatest, 
'the Seal of the prophets'. With him, revelation has come to 
an end. 'The prophecies have been sealed with his prophecy, 
and the prophetic mission has ceased with his mission, as the 
Kur'an has affirmed, and correct tradition has confirmed, and 
the failure of all pretenders who have come after him has 
proved.' 3 He appeared at a time when Persia and Byzantium 
were at constant strife, the ruling class was living in luxury 
and extravagance, while the common people were regarded as 
the rightful property of their rulers. Religion and morals 
were in a state of anarchy and confusion. In Arabia itself, the 
tribes were at variance; rivalry and war, idolatry and a 
general state of moral decadence prevailed. In general, the 
bonds of society were broken down everywhere, throughout 
all the nations. When Muhammad came, his great concern 
was to save his people, and deliver the world from its evil. 
He was in no position to seek power as a king, or a political 
leader ; the Kuraish themselves had no thoughts of that sort, 
but were satisfied with their claims to honour on the grounds 

1 Bisalah, pp. 92, 93; Michel, translation, p. 58. 

2 Ibid., p. 124 ; Michel, p. 77 ; cf . also, Introd., p. lxxii. It was Al-Ghazzali 
(d. a.d. 1111), who first found in the moral influence of the prophets a proof 
for the authenticity of their mission. 

3 Ibid., p. 201 ; Michel, p. 122. Cf. also, on the finality of Islam below, 
p. 175. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 161 

of genealogy. Muhammad was poor, he had no social position, 
no fame as a poet or orator, nothing to commend him especi- 
ally, either to the common people or to the leaders. Although 
the people were indifferent or opposed to him, yet he 
approached them with proof, and words of warning and 
advice. Whence, then, his great power and influence ? It was 
his apostleship which raised him up to the heights which he 
attained. This power in one naturally so weak, and this 
wisdom in one who was illiterate, were only because he was 
the messenger and spokesman of God. This is the greatest 
proof of his apostleship; illiterate, he taught scholars to 
understand what they were teaching, and reading, and 
writing. His eloquence and wisdom and power are thus an 
evidentiary miracle, conforming his mission. 1 

The Kur'an itself is the greatest miracle. Its immutability 
(i*jdz) in eloquence and style is such that the Arabs were 
not able to produce anything like it, although, at the time 
of Muhammad's mission, they had attained their highest 
development in the art of eloquence ; nor have they been able 
to do so since that time. If the Arabs have not been able to 
rival it in their own language, it is not to be expected that any 
other nation can do so. This miracle of eloquence, therefore, 
is a proof that the Kur'an is not of human composition, but 
is 'a light that radiates from the sun of the Divine Know- 
ledge/ 2 

Cult of Saints. 

This topic is closely related to the foregoing doctrine of the 
prophets, and is discussed by Muhammad 'Abduh in his 
chapters on prophecy. The particular points which he dis- 
cusses are the rank of the saints as compared with that of the 
prophets, and the possibility of the occurrence of miracles at 
their hands, as evidence of their enjoyment of the Divine 
favour. These miracles are called, in Muslim terminology, 
karamat (grace-gifts, charismata), to distinguish them from 
the mu*jiza,t (evidentiary miracles) of the prophets. From 
the earliest days, Islam has believed in the possibility of 

1 Risalah, pp. 144 sqq. ; Michel, translation, pp. 89 sqq. 
3 Ibid., pp. 160 sqq. ; Michel, translation, pp. 99 sqq. 

162 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

certain men and women attaining to a position of special 
nearness to God and favouritism with Him, by reason of their 
peculiar piety and unremitting practice of acts of devotion 
and asceticism. To these Friends of His (awliya, sing, wall), 
God imparts special gifts of illumination, and, at times, 
powers of a supernatural order. With the development of 
mysticism, and more particularly, with the rise and growth 
of the so-called dervish orders and the ecstatic practices con- 
nected with them, a recognized cult of saints has been evolved 
which is a part of orthodox Muslim belief. As a result of the 
belief that these saints have access to the favour of God to 
a degree denied to ordinary believers, their intercession with 
God is held to have power with Him; and the practice of 
visitation of the tombs of the saints has grown up as a part of 
popular Islam. 

Muhammad 'Abduh recognizes that there are those who 
'possess elevated souls and exalted minds', to whom religious 
insight is given. They are not of the same rank as the pro- 
phets, but are content to be their friends (awliyd) and to 
remain faithful to their teaching. Many of them have attained 
a position which is near to that of the prophets. In some of 
their ecstatic states, they have cognizance, to a certain 
extent, of the unseen world, and they have visions, the reality 
of which is not to be denied. The proof of the genuineness of 
their experiences lies in their upright moral character, the 
good influence which they exert, and their efforts for the 
betterment of others. There is no lack of those who assume 
the character of saints, but how quickly is their true charac- 
ter discovered, and how miserable their end and that of the 
people who have been deceived by them ! Their influence is 
only evil, misleading the minds, corrupting the character, and 
debasing the morals of all the people. 1 

As for the possibility of the performance of miracles by the 
saints, the possibility is admitted, he says, by the majority 
of the Ash'arite theologians, although denied by the Mu'tazi- 
lites and a number of others. The investigation of this sub- 
ject, he continues, is connected with the investigation of a 
number of other questions, such as the capabilities of the 

1 Risdlah, pp. 125, 126; Michel, translation, pp. 77, 78. 

Muhammad "Abduh: Doctrines 163 

human spirit, its relation to the universe as a whole, the value 
of good works, and the progress of the soul in perfection. 
The logical possibility of the working of extraordinary powers 
through the medium of persons other than the prophets is 
not denied by reasonable persons. The one thing that re- 
quires to be noticed, however, is that all Muslims, orthodox 
and otherwise, are agreed that no one is required to believe 
in the occurrence of any specified miracle (hardmah) at the 
hands of any specified saint, since the appearance of Islam, 
Any Muslim, then, according to the consensus of opinion 
(ijmd*) of the Community, can deny the occurrence of any 
'karamah', of whatever sort, at the hands of any saint, who- 
ever he may be, without doing violence to any fundamental 
doctrine of Islam, or any genuine tradition, unless it be, 
possibly, some traditions concerning the Companions. 1 

'How far this principle (just enunciated) is', he concludes, 
'from the belief of the mass of the people that the miracles of 
the saints are a kind of hocus-pocus in which the saints vie 
with one another, and in which each boasts of his superiority ! 
But with that sort of thing, God has nothing to do, nor does 
His religion, nor do His saints, nor all people who have know- 
ledge.' This is but a mild expression of his disapproval of the 
popular abuses which have grown up about this doctrine of 
the saints. Elsewhere, particularly in his Commentary, he 
pours out reproof and ridicule upon the excessive reverence 
which the people show towards all reputed saints, and the 
practice of visiting their tombs and entreating their inter- 
cession. They subject themselves to imposters and tricksters, 
and tremble before unusual natural phenomena. If any sort of 
accident befall them, for which they have been responsible by 
their own actions, they see therein the working of some holy 
man or other. Thus you see them always worrying and fretting 
over coming events. This comes to pass because they are not 
good monotheists, but are swayed by heathen impulses, which 
keep them in continual concern about what is going to happen. 2 

On the matter of the intercession of the prophets and others 

1 Ibid., p. 226; Michel, translation, p. 140. 

a Al-Manar, vi. 805, comment on Surah ii. 106. Quoted by Goldziher, 
Koranauslegung, p. 367. Cf. further, below, on the fight led by Al-Manar 
against abuses, Chapter VIII. 

164 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

on behalf of the believers, ( Abduh does not express himself in 
his Risalah. But he has something to say of it in his Com- 
mentary, as, for example, on Surah ii. 45: 'Fear ye the day 
when soul shall not satisfy for soul at all, nor shall any inter- 
cession be accepted from them', &c. 

'It will be of no advantage to you on the Bay of Resurrection', 
he remarks on this verse, 'to excuse yourselves for turning aside 
from the understanding of the K^ur'an by saying that some of your 
ancestors were accustomed to understand it and reflect on it, and 
you have ceased to understand it and reflect on it because of your 
satisfaction with their understanding and reflection. And if the 
understanding of your ancestors will not be of any avail with 
respect to your turning aside from the guidance of the Book, 
neither will their intercession be of any advantage to you. Nor 
will any justice or atonement be accepted which ye might present 
as a recompense for your excesses. . . . The Jews were accustomed 
to present atonement, and trust in the intercession of their 
prophets ; but God here informs them that nothing else will take 
the place of being guided by His Book.' 

It is not surprising, in view of the foregoing sentiments, to 
learn that he was accused of denying the principle of inter- 
cession. In Muhammad Rashid Rida's Biography , a reply to 
this accusation is given by a certain shaikh who had heard 
'Abduh in an extended discussion of the matter. He sup- 
ported intercession, the writer states, from the Kur'an, from 
the Traditions, and from the Muslim Agreement, and said 
that it is a doctrine that no one can deny. But it is not like 
intercession as we know it, in which one person intervenes on 
behalf of another to secure the alleviation of the proposed 
sentence or the relinquishment of punishment altogether. 
Since the will of God acts always in accordance with His 
eternal foreknowledge, the only sense in which intercession 
is possible with Him is, that He knows and wills that He will 
not punish so-and-so, though a malefactor, simply because of 
His clemency and graciousness ; but that, for the sake of 
showing forth the excellence of the intercessor on the Day of 
Judgement, He makes the manifestation of the pardon 
dependent upon the form of intercession which takes place 
by means of the intercessor on that Day. 1 

1 Tarikh, iii. 206, 207. Horten (Beitrace, xiv. 118) states that 'Abduh 

Muhammad f Abduh: Doctrines 165 

Doctrine of Morals. 

The basis of the distinction between right and wrong, 
between virtue and vice, Muhammad 'Abduh finds in the 
ability, which is inherent in the human intellect, to judge 
both ideas and actions as being, in themselves or in their 
results, either beautiful or ugly. 

We find within ourselves, he reasons, a distinction between 
material things that are beautiful, and those that are ugly. Not all 
persons have the same ideas of beauty and ugliness; yet some 
things generally excite an impression of beauty, such as flowers. 
The apprehension of beauty arouses sentiments of pleasure or 
wonder, and ugliness those of repulsion or fear. This power of 
distinction is characteristic of man, and even of some animals. 
Man is sensible of the same distinctions in the realm of ideas, 
although the criteria by which he judges them are different. He 
finds beauty in the idea of perfection : God as Necessary Existence, 
for example, or the noble moral qualities of men. On the other 
hand, defectiveness, in mind or character or will and the like, 
commonly imparts an impression of ugliness. Similarly, voluntary 
actions, which are apprehended by our senses and our intellectual 
powers just as are the phenomena of nature, either in themselves 
or in their consequences, make an impression upon our minds no 
less than do the images of material things. Thus, some actions, 
equally with beautiful material things, in themselves cause 
pleasure. Examples of this are found in well-ordered military 
evolutions, or perfectly executed gymnastic exercises, or a masterly 
performance upon some musical instrument. Other actions are 
ugly in themselves, as the disordered bodily movements of weak- 
souled persons when overwhelmed by fear. 

Eurther, some actions that cause pain, like blows and wounds, 
seem ugly ; and others that cause delight, like eating to the man 
who is hungry, seem beautiful. In making such distinctions, man 
differs little from the higher animals, except in the degree of clear- 
ness or keenness with which the distinction is made. Voluntary 
actions may also be distinguished as beautiful or ugly according 
to the idea of their utility or harmfulness. Distinctions of this sort 
are possible only to man. Some actions are pleasurable but are 
judged to be ugly because of their harmful consequences; for 
example, excess in eating or drinking which causes harm to body 

accepted the orthodox belief regarding the intercession of the saints, and 
held that it ia not contrary to the foreknowledge and the decrees of God. 

166 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

and mind. Some disagreeable actions appear beautiful because 
of their results, such as fatigue in gaining a livelihood, resistance 
of passions, and the like. Or again, the hardships which one 
endures in his efforts to discover truths of the universe hitherto 
unknown, count for nothing compared with his satisfaction in 
being assured of the truth. Similarly, appropriation of what 
belongs to others, and acts of envy, and like actions, are felt to be 
ugly because of the disturbance which they cause to the general 
peace and safety, which eventually reacts upon the one who did 
these things. 

All these distinctions the human reason is capable of making. 
One set of actions, it calls doing good, the other doing evil. These 
distinctions are the basis of the recognition of the differences 
between the virtues and the vices. The distinctions are drawn 
more or less closely, according to the intelligence of the persons 
who make them. They are recognized as the causes of happiness 
or misery in this life, and as the reasons for the progress or decline 
of civilization, and of the strength or weakness of nations. These 
things man can discover by his reason, or his senses, without the 
aid of revelation, as may be determined from the case of children 
too young to discern the distinctions of the Law, or from the case 
of primitive man. 1 

However, although men of reason and reflection and 
moderation are able to discover a correct code of morals 
apart from revelation, there have been very few during the 
past history of mankind who have actually done so ; and even 
they do not agree regarding the individual actions which 
should go to constitute such a code. As for the great mass of 
mankind, their needs are so varied, their competitions and 
rivalries, with one another and with the forces of nature, so 
intense, their temptations so powerful, that reason has proved 
to be a not infallible guide. Thus, the actual history of man 
has shown his need of the guidance of the prophets, to direct 
him to a code of morals and doctrines which is acceptable to 
God and which will be the means of securing his happiness in 
this life and in that which is to come. 2 

1 Eisdlah, pp. 73-9 ; Michel, translation, pp. 46-50. In these ideas 'Abduh 
is following Al-FarabI and the Mu'tazilites. Michel, pp. lxxiv sqq. For 
Horten's statement of these ideas, cf. Beitrage, xiv. 120. 

a Ibid., pp. 80 sqq. ; Michel, translation, pp. 50 sqq. See also above, on 
the necessity for prophecy, pp. 155 sqq. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 167 

While reason alone is thus insufficient as a guide to men's 
actions, its insufficiency as a controlling moral force which 
enables them to correct their practices and resist their tempta- 
tions is particularly evident. Another part of man's nature 
must therefore be brought into play, namely, his religious 
sense or feeling, which is the basis upon which religious beliefs 
and practices rest. 1 'Religion', he says, further, in definition 
of this basis, 'more resembles a natural instinctive impulse 
than an influence to which response is made of free choice. It 
is one of the greatest faculties which man possesses ; but it is 
subject to the same maladies which may affect his other 
faculties.' 2 When this part of man's nature is appealed to, 
and only then, do beliefs have a formative influence upon 
character and actions. ' For religion is the most potent factor 
in the formation of moral traits, not only for the great mass 
of the people but also for the chosen few ; and its authority 
over their souls is greater than the authority of reason, which 
is the distinguishing trait of their kind.' 3 But in the true 
religion, both reason and the religious emotions are so wedded 
together that each makes its proper appeal. 'The perfect 
religion consists of knowledge and experience, intellect and 
heart, proof and acceptance, thought and emotion. If religion 
is restricted to one of these two elements, one of its bases has 
dropped out; and it cannot stand upon the other alone.' 4 

Of the place of religion in the life, both of the nation and 
the individual, ' Abduh has much to say. In national life it is 
the secret of progress and success. * To follow the apostles and 
the guidance of religion', he declares in his comment on Surah 
iv. 14, 'is the basis of all civilization. For it is advancement 
in things of the spirit which incites to material advancement.' 
And in support of this principle, he quotes a similar sentiment 
from Herbert Spencer, whom he calls 'chief of the philo- 
sophers on social questions \ 5 He wrote an article on ' Bismark 

1 Ibid., pp. 138, 139; Michel, pp. 85, 86. 

9 Ibid., p. 141 ; Michel, p. 87. Cf, above, p. 127. 

8 Ibid., p. 140; Michel, p. 86. 

4 Al-Isldm ma al-Nasrdniyyah, p. 136. 

6 Al-M anar, xii. 805. On his admiration for Spencer see above, p. 95. 
The emphasis which he places upon the principles of sociology and history 
is perhaps traceable to his study of Ibn Khaldun. For example, on the 

168 Muhammad *Abduh: Doctrines 

and Religion ', in which he quotes some remarks of that states- 
man, to prove to young men that faith and religion do not 
constitute a weakness, either in thought or learning or politi- 
cal leadership. 1 Of the influence of religion upon the indi- 
vidual, the following is an example of much that he wrote : 
'Religion is the abiding place of serenity, the resort of tran- 
quillity. Through its influence, each one accepts with con- 
tentment the lot which has been assigned to him ; through its 
influence, he perseveres in his efforts until he accomplishes 
the aim towards which his work was directed; through it, 
men's souls submit themselves to the requirements of the 
general laws of the universe ; through it, man regards those 
who are above him in learning and virtue, and those who are 
beneath him in wealth and position, in the manner which the 
Divine commands have prescribed.' 2 

The essential morality advocated by Muhammad c Abduh 
may be summed up in the words: 'faith in God alone, and 
sincerity in the performance of the prescribed religious duties 
( { ibadah) ; and the mutual aid of all men, one to another, in 
the doing of good and the prevention of evil in so far as they 
are able \ 3 This, he says, is the essential message of the one 
universal religion of God, which is the same in all ages. It is 
characteristic of all his teaching that he attaches the greatest 
importance to these three fundamental duties, or rather 
attitudes, of religion: faith, sincerity, mutual co-operation. 
A fourth should perhaps be added, that of justice. He in- 
cludes it in a formula similar to the preceding in his Risdlah* 
and the idea receives frequent emphasis. Illustration of these 
matters may be given in detail. 

Faith in God is the first essential of religion. He finds this 
to be the teaching of Surah ii. 172 : 'He is pious who believeth 
in God', &c. This verse begins with the mention of belief in 
God and the Last Day ' because it is the basis of all piety and 
the source of every good work'. 5 And later, on the same 

place of religion in national life, cf . the statement in Arnold, The Caliphate 
(1924), p. 74: Ibn Khaldun 'lays it down that the most solid basis for an 
empire is religion'. 1 Tarikh, ii. 412, 413. 

2 Risdlah, p. 141 ; Michel, translation, p. 87, 

3 Al-Isldm wa al-Nasraniyyah, p. 47. 

4 Bisalah, p. 157; Michel, p. 97. B Tafsir, ii. 121. 

Muhammad K Abduh: Doctrines 169 

passage, he adds : 'Piety is only faith and the outward mani- 
festation of its influence upon the soul and upon the actions.' 
But faith will not be the root of all piety 'unless it has control 
over the soul by proof, and is accompanied by submission 
and approval. . . . The faith required is a true knowledge 
which rules the reason by proof and the soul by obedience, 
until God and His Apostle are dearer to the believer than all 
else, and their influence is greater than all else/ But the faith 
that is derived by mere acceptance of belief on authority and 
not by conviction and assent, 'leaves its possessor still dis- 
turbed at heart, and dead in soul. If good comes to him, he 
rejoices boastfully; if evil, he despairs unbelievingly*. Thus 
one may grow up a Muslim and come to have Muslim beliefs 
by hearsay, but such faith will not inspire him to piety, even 
though he has memorized the whole Catechism of AhSanusi 
with its proofs. 1 

His emphasis upon sincerity in the performance of religious 
duties is but a consequence of his belief in the essential inward- 
ness of true religion, and his conviction that religion, to be 
effective as a corrective and formative influence, must engage 
the emotional nature (wijddn, halb) and not be simply a 
matter of formal belief or empty ritual. He believed that the 
ritual of Islam was well adapted to arouse true religious 
sentiments. Thus, in regard to the ritual of prayer, he says : 
' There is no doubt that the form of prayer prescribed in the 
Kur'an is the best aid in calling before the worshipper the 
power and goodness and graciousness of God.' The bending 
and the prostration strengthen in the soul the idea of worship 
and of the greatness of the Deity; and the various other 
attitudes of prayer are examined from the same point of view. 2 
At the same time he realized the great danger of formal 
repetition and thoughtless performance; hence, such re- 
minders as the following are frequent: 'All the preceding 
(Explanation of duties, &c.) indicates to us that the important 
matter in connexion with the performance of all religious 
duties is to retain in the mind the thought of God, who cor- 
rects the soul and enlightens the spirit, so that they turn 
towards the good and keep on guard against evil and 
1 Tafrtr, ii. 121, 122. 2 Ibid., pp. 438, 439. On Surah ii. 240. 

170 Muhammad *Abduh: Doctrines 

disobedience; and thus the one who performs these duties 
becomes one of the God-fearing. ' x 

Performance of the stated prayers is one of the most impor- 
tant duties prescribed by Islam. f Abduh recognized it as the 
central duty of all, and sought to enhance its religious value 
as an act of worship in which both heart and mind are engaged 
as well as the body. This appears clearly in his comment on 
Surah ii. 139. 

The prayer which is much described and much praised in the 
Kur'an, he says, is 'the turning towards God, and the presence of 
the heart before Him, and entire immersion in the consciousness 
of His awe-inspiring greatness and His majesty and omnipotence. 
This is the prayer of which God says, " It is a hard duty, indeed, 
but not to the humble" (Surah ii. 42). . . . The well-known forms 
are not meant, the upright position, the genuflexion, the prostra- 
tion, especially not the recitation with the lips, all of which any lad 
able to grasp them can become accustomed to, and which we see 
practised by people who are accustomed to them, while at the 
same time they persistently commit evil deeds and forbidden. acts. 
What value, then, do such easily performed bodily movements 
have, that God describes them as difficult except to the humble ? 
Those movements and words are prescribed only as a form of 
prayer to serve as a means to remind the neglectful and arouse 
the indifferent and to incite the one who is praying to turn to God.' 2 
And again : ' If one is unable to perform all these bodily movements, 
that fact does not prevent him from engaging in that heart wor- 
ship which is the spirit of prayer and of all other religious duties.' 3 

In like spirit, he treats the performance of the Pilgrimage 
to Mecca. ' If hypocrisy and love of notoriety are the motives 
which lead to making the Pilgrimage, then the Pilgrimage is 
a sin to the hypocrite and not an act of obedience. And if 
hypocrisy is present during the Pilgrimage ritual, it is said 
that the performance will not be accepted by God, because 
of the statements which affirm that God will not accept 
anything except what is sincerely done for His sake.' 4 And 

1 Tafsir, ii. 139, on Surah ii. 199. 

2 Ibid., p. 38. Quoted by Goldziher, Koranauslegung, p. 341. Cf. Beitrage, 
xiv, 122. s Ibid., p. 439, on Surah ii. 240. 

4 Ibid., p, 214, on Surah ii. 192. In the same passage he refers the reader 
to the Ihya of Al-Ghazzali for a full statement on 'Hypocrisy'. The spirit of 
Al-Ghazzall is evident in the manner in which 'Abduh treats all religious 
duties. See further, below, Chapter VIII, under 'Formative Influences'. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 171 

elsewhere he writes: 'When the intention (in any religious 
duty) becomes in any way tainted with a portion of the world, 
the action ceases to be a sincere religious act, and God will 
not accept anything that is not free from worldly taint.' 1 

He insists on justice in the payment of the prescribed legal 
alms (zakdt). He pours out his scorn on the devices practised 
for the purpose of evading payment, which are countenanced 
by the canon lawyers under the designation of 'stratagems 
permitted by the Divine Law'. 'To connect this foolishness 
with the Divine Law ', he declares in indignation, 'is a greater 
proof of unbelief than is the act itself of withholding pay- 
ment ; since it is not reasonable that God would lay down a 
law for us and confirm it seventy times, and then be willing 
that we should devise stratagems against Him, and attempt 
to deceive Him with respect to abandoning the law, and 
imagine that He has given permission to use this deceit and 
trickery/ 2 Further on the subject of justice, he maintains 
that capital punishment for murder should be retained as a 
general law, as prescribed by tho Kur'an, although some 
legislators in our day, even among Muslims, advocate moral 
training for the reclamation of the criminal instead. 'But one 
who has regard for the general welfare of the nations rather 
than his own particular feelings or those of his own country, 
must see that just and equitable punishment is the funda- 
mental rule which trains nations and peoples, and that to 
abandon it entirely would encourage the evil-minded to shed 
blood.' Imprisonment and hard labour may act as a deter- 
rent in some European countries, but in some other countries, 
as in Egypt, he thinks that imprisonment is rather an en- 
couragement to crime, for the culprit considers the prison better 
than his own house and calls it a lodging-place or hotel. 3 

The foregoing extracts from his teaching illustrate the 
manner in which he interpreted the forms and duties pre- 
scribed by Islam. In the same spirit he applies the moral 
precepts of the Kur'an, seeking to determine the fundamental 
principle involved and its applicability to present-day con- 
ditions. Thus he finds urgent necessity for stricter observance 

1 Ibid., p. 191, on Surah ii. 184. 3 Ibid., pp. 129, 130, on Surah ii. 171. 
8 Ibid., pp. 136, 137, on Surah ii. 173. 

172 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

of the injunctions of the Kur'an regarding wine and gambling. 
Present-day medical science confirms the statement of the 
Kur'an that the harmful effects of wme-drinking outweigh 
its advantages. He expresses his concern for the future of the 
Egyptian people if the use of intoxicants, with the accom- 
panying evils of prostitution, continues to increase. 1 The 
virtues are to society what the force of gravity is to the 
physical universe, the cohesive force which holds it together 
and makes for unity, while the vices are disruptive in their 
influence. 2 Of all the virtues, perseverance is the chief and 
fundamental one. 'It is the mother of all virtues, and there 
is no virtue that is not in need of it.' It is mentioned seventy 
times in the Kur'an, no other virtue has been given like men- 
tion. The meaning of perseverance in all these verses is 'the 
faculty of steadfastness and endurance, by virtue of which its 
possessor considers lightly all that befalls him in the course of 
his defence of the truth and assistance of virtue '. It appears 
therefore, only in a voluntary work undertaken on behalf of 
the public good, in which opposition is likely to be encoun- 
tered. Thus not all who endure disagreeable things are among 
the persevering. 3 

Muhammad 'Abduh's theory of corporate unity and also of 
corporate morality, within the Muslim Community as a whole 
or within the individual nation, was based upon the principle 
of mutual co-operation and encouragement in the restraint 
of evil and the promotion of the good. Such a verse as Surah 
iii. 100, afforded textual authority for such a position: 'That 
there may be among you a people who invite to the Good and 
enjoin the Just and forbid the Wrong.' One of the accepted 
principles of society, he says in introducing his comment, 
is that no people can exist as an independent entity unless 
there be some bond that binds them together and gives them 
unity, so that they become a living community, as though 
they were a single body. This verse reveals such a bond. The 
sense of the verse is not that some part of the people 

1 Tafsir, ii. 328 sqq., on Surah ii. 216. 

2 Tarikh, ii. 272 sqq., article from AWUrwah al-Wuthkah, on ' The Virtues 
and the Vices and their Results. Causes of the Decay of Nations.' Cf. 
Beitrage, xiv. 123. 

* Tafsir, ii. 35, 36, on Surah ii. 148. 

Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 173 

should discharge the duty of inviting, and thus the duty be 
a general one, sufficiently discharged when performed by a 
certain part of the Community (fard kifayah), as interpreted 
by some commentators; but the duty is an individual one 
(fard *ain) which every member of the Community must 
perform. As though the meaning were, 'that I may find in 
you a people', &c. (i.e. find you to be a people). This duty 
presupposes only such a degree of knowledge as can be ob- 
tained by the generality of the people from the Kur'an and 
the Sunnah, and does not require a knowledge of special 
treatises on ethics and canon law. This duty of inviting is, 
first of all, the duty of Muslims towards other peoples, since 
Islam is for all peoples. And, in the second place, it is the 
duty of Muslims towards one another. Those specially quali- 
fied in law and religion are to take the initiative in instructing 
the people ; and the individuals of the Community are to 
follow their leadership in giving advice and encouragement to 
one another. This will prevent the spread of evil, will estab- 
lish the good, and will make divisions and sects impossible. 1 
He had also much to say in commendation of co-operation in 
promotion of the public welfare of the Community and in 
carrying forward its benevolent works. 2 

The True Islam. 

'If any one wishes to pass judgement on any religion, 
whether a favourable or unfavourable judgement with respect 
to any particular matter', Shaikh 'Abduh once wrote in one 
of his controversial works, 'he should look at it as it is when 
purified of all the accretions which have originated from the 
customs of those who profess it, and the matters which they 
have added to it, perhaps derived from some other religion. 
... He should consider its principles as they are determined 
by the words and actions of the men who were nearest in time 
to the appearance of the religion, and who received it in the 
simplicity in which it was transmitted from the founder of 
the religion himself. ' 3 This was the principle which he adopted 

1 Tafslr, iv. 25-9. 

3 As, for example, on Surah ii. 216 ; Tafslr, ii. 343. 

8 Al-Jsldm wa al-Nasrdniyyah, p. 22. Quoted by Michel, p. xlvi. 

174 Muhammad 'Abduh: Doctrines 

in his discussion of Christianity in the work from which 
quotation has just been made ; it was the principle which he 
followed in determining what are the essentials of Islam to 
which return should be made, to the exclusion of much that 
is now regarded as belonging to Islam but, in reality, is foreign 
to it and even contradictory to its spirit. ' I raised my voice ', 
he said, to quote once more his own statement of his essential 
aims, 'to summon to two important matters. The first was, 
to free the mind from the chains of belief on authority, and to 
understand the religion (of Islam) as the early generation 
understood it, before the appearance of divisions among them, 
and to return to the original sources of the branches of the 
sciences (of Islam) in order to attain a proper knowledge of 
them.' 1 

It will not be necessary here to go into any further detail 
than has already been done, in indicating the manner in which 
he applied this principle in the sphere of beliefs. The succeed- 
ing chapter will show how he proposed to apply it to canon 
law and in the elimination of practices which he considered 
harmful or foreign to Islam. It will be sufficient here, in con- 
cluding the present chapter, to make only a general remark 
concerning his method of procedure. The indispensable 
essentials of Islam are held to be * that which is in the Book 
(i.e. the Kur'an) and a small part of the Sunnah (Usage of 
the Prophet) relating to matters of practice'. 2 This brief 
statement is explained by what he says on Surah iv. 62, 
which reads: '0 ye who believe! Obey God and obey the 
Apostle and those among you invested with authority ; and 
if in aught ye differ, bring it before God and the Apostle.' 
Applying these words to the present time, the meaning is: 
obedience to God is to follow His book completely, which 
contains many prohibitions of differences and divisions into 
sects in religion ; obedience to the Apostle after his death is to 
follow his Sunnah. Matters of belief and practice are to be 
determined by reference to these two sources, in other words, 
the belief s and practices of the early Muslims are once more 
to be adopted, without additions or omissions. The third 

1 Al-Mandr, viii. 892, 893. Also quoted by Michel, p. xliii. 
3 Risdlah, p. 224; Michel, translation, p. 137. 

Muhammad *Abduh: Doctrines 175 

class mentioned, 'those invested with authority ', are the men 
of position and influence, such as the 'Ulama and the leaders, 
who are known in the language of to-day as 'the representa- 
tives of the nation'. To them are to be referred all judicial, 
administrative, and political affairs (including the revision of 
the canon law of Islam), which they will determine ' according 
to the principles of the Divine Law respecting the conserva- 
tion of advantages and the averting of evils, and in harmony 
with the conditions of the time and the locality'. 1 

By following this method of returning to the simplest and 
most essential form of Islam, a basis would be found upon 
which all Muslims could unite, and which, at the time, would 
prove acceptable and sufficient as the one religion for all 
mankind. It would then appear that the present regulations 
of Islam regarding divorce, polygamy, slavery, and the like, 
do not belong to the essentials of Islam, but are subject to 
modification according to circumstances. 2 The real nature of 
Islam would then be manifested, as the final expression of the 
true religion of God which is the same in all ages, which in 'its 
spirit and the essentials which it requires of all men by the 
mouth of all the prophets and apostles' does not change. 3 
Islam is the final expression of this religion. Christianity 
came at an earlier stage in man's development, it appealed 
entirely to the emotions, and inculcated ideals of asceticism 
and other-worldliness that were contrary to the nature of 
man and were therefore soon repudiated or modified to suit 
the desires or the needs of those who professed this religion. 
But Islam came when man had reached his fullest develop- 
ment and had learned from past experiences. It addressed 
itself to reason in the direction of man, but it enlisted also the 
emotions. 4 In some respects Judaism and Christianity and 
Islam may all appear as 'branches that grew out of one com- 
mon root, which was the true religion, and that these branches 
do not destroy the unity of this one religion '. But examined 
more closely, Islam is seen to combine the essentials of all, 

1 Tafsir, Hi. 8-12. 

3 Tdrikh, ii. 515, open letter to an English clergyman. 
* Ahlsldm wa al-Nasrdniyyah t p. 47. Also Risalah, pp. 181-3; Michel, 
translation, pp. Ill, 112. 4 Riedlah, p. 187; Michel, p. 115. 

176 Muhammad *Abduh: Doctrines 

and is thus ' the most excellent means of preparing the human 
spirit for attaining the highest stage of perfection in faith'. 1 
It is thus the supreme function of Islam to unite all men in 
the bonds of one true religion. 2 

1 Tarikh, ii. 513-15, letter above referred to. 

2 Al-Islam wa al-Nasraniyyah f p. 48. 




HE name of Muhammad Rashld Rida has received fre- 
quent mention in the preceding pages. As the leading 
pupil of Muhammad * Abduh during the latter's lifetime, and, 
since his death, his biographer, editor of his works, and the 
one who has principally carried on his tradition and inter- 
preted his doctrines, his name cannot be mentioned otherwise 
than frequently in any study of the movement inaugurated 
by Muhammad * Abduh. Even more frequent have been the 
references to the pages of Al-Aandr, the periodical founded 
by Rashid Rida as the mouthpiece for the propagation of 
'Abduh's doctrines and the accomplishment of his reforms. 
Some account is required, therefore, of the man who has been 
perpetuating ' Abduh 's influence for the quarter of a century 
since his death, and of the organ of which he has been the 
founder and editor. In this account are included some pro- 
jects and activities which might logically have been dealt 
with earlier, in connexion with the biography of Muhammad 
'Abduh, such as some of his reforms, notably that of canon 
law, and the preparation and publication of his Commentary, 
but have been reserved for consideration here because of 
their close identification with Al-Manar and its editor. 

Muhammad Rashld Rida. 

Muhammad Rashid Rida is a Syrian by nationality. He 
comes of a family which claims descent from the family of 
the Prophet, as denoted by his right to receive the title 'Al- 
Sayyid'. His education was received in the schools of 
Tripoli in Syria (Tarabalus), and was of the type usually 
received by the "alim ' or 'shaikh'. He completed his studies 
and was granted the diploma of "alim' in the year 1897. 1 
His master during the period of his more advanced studies 
was Shaikh Husain al-Jisr, a Syrian scholar who wrote a 
work in defence of Islam and dedicated it to the Sultan 
*Abd al-Hamid of Turkey, under the title of Al-risdlah 

1 Al-Mandr. ■xxviii. 652. 

178 Muhammad Rashid Rida and Al-Manar 
al-Hamtdiyt/ah, 1 This work, Snouck Hurgronje thinks, is 
significant of the changed attitude of Muslim scholars to- 
wards Western thought in regard to Islam. Shaikh Husain 
shows in his work that he knows theology and law; but 
whereas an earlier orthodox writer would not have troubled 
about infidel views or would have advised an appeal to the 
sword, he feels that the time has gone when Muslims can 
ignore all arguments against their faith. He, therefore, tries 
to show that true humanity, morality, and reason find their 
highest expression in the law and doctrine of Islam. He 
confutes sundry philosophic and materialistic difficulties in 
Islam, as raised by Western scholars, and even considers 
Darwinism, but holds that, even if it were true, it would not 
necessarily be in conflict with the Kur'an. 2 

Muhammad Rashid Rida has little to say in his writings 
about the influence of Husain al-Jisr upon his later beliefs. 
It would seem, from the above account of Husain's ideas, 
that he might have prepared in the mind of his pupil a certain 
sympathy towards the ideas of Muhammad ( Abduh which he 
later embraced. Although Shaikh Husain was somewhat 
advanced in some of his ideas, he did not approve, however, 
of the lengths to which his pupil later went in his advocacy 
of reform. When the first issue of Al-Manar appeared, he 
wrote to Rashid Rida, as follows: 'Al-Manar has appeared, 
gleaming with unaccustomed yet pleasing lights (the title 
Al-Manar signifies * The Lighthouse '), except that these lights 
are made up of powerful rays that almost impair the vision.' 3 
He later wrote some caustic criticisms of the course pursued 
by Al-Manar. 

If Rashid Rida has said little concerning his earlier studies, 
he is less reticent in regard to the effect which the reading 
of Al-'Urwah al-Wuihjcah had upon his mind. He once 
happened upon a number of old copies which were in posses- 
sion of his father. These he devoured with great eagerness, 
and then began the search, from house to house, for the re- 
maining numbers which, when found, he copied out with his 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 456; i. 2; Goldziher, Koranauslegung, p. 324. 

2 The Achehnese, C. Snouck Hurgronje ; translated by A. W. S. O'Sullivan, 
Leyden, 1906, ii. 345 sqq. The date of Husain al-Jisr's work is given as 
about a.h. 1306/a.d. 1889. 3 Al-Manar, i. 2. 

Muhammad Rasihd Rida and Al-Manar 179 
own hands. He was able to complete the numbers, as many 
as had been published, from copies in the possession of 
Shaikh Husain al-Jisr. The articles in these papers made a 
profound impression upon him and caused him, as he says, 
to enter upon a new period in his life. Before that time he 
had been given to Sufism, and engrossed in religious and 
ascetic practices. In teaching the Kur'an to the common 
people of his village he had emphasized its threats and warn- 
ings, and the doctrines that inspire fear and inculcate asceti- 
cism in this life. His chief concern had been orthodoxy of 
belief and practice ; if he had any thought of reform, it was 
of a purely local character. But the reading of Al-'Urwah 
al-Wuthkak changed all this. Its appeals for the reform of 
Islam as a whole, and the regeneration of all Muslim nations 
and the restoration of the early glory of Islam, placed a new 
ideal before him and inspired within him new desires. His 
first teacher, he says, had been the Ihya of Al-Ghazzali, which 
was the first book to take possession of his mind and heart. 
His second teacher w&aAl^UrwahahWuthkah, which changed 
the course of his life. 

As a result of his reading of these papers, he conceived the 
desire to join himself to Jamal al-Dln al- Afghani, who had 
but lately arrived in Constantinople. He wrote to Jamal al- 
Din to this effect. But since Jamal continued to reside in 
Constantinople until the end of his days, this desire was never 
accomplished. After JamaTs death, Rashid Rida, wished to 
go to Egypt to become associated with Muhammad Abduh ; 
and, as opportunity to do so was offered at the close of his 
studies in Tripoli, he left Syria for Egypt in the month of 
Rajab, a.h. 1315 (a.d. 1897). On the morning following his 
arrival in Cairo, he sought out Muhammad * Abduh and 
attached himself to him as his pupil. The association thus 
begun continued, in increasing intimacy, until 'Abduh's 
death in 1905. Shaikh 'Abduh, on his part, loved and trusted 
his pupil ; and the latter regarded his master with unbounded 
admiration and respect, and celebrated his praises as the 
greatest teacher of Islam in modern times. 1 

1 Autobiographical references are given briefly in Al~Manar, viii. 456, 
and at greater length, in xxviii. 650 sqq. ; also Tarikh, i. 84, 85. 

180 Muhammad Rashid Eidd and Al-Manar 

Of Rashid Rida's scholarship, it will be sufficient to say, 
in view of the lack of detail concerning his actual studies, that 
his writings display attainments of considerable merit in the 
usual Muslim sciences. He has attempted no independent 
work in either theology or philosophy, but in editing the 
works of his master and in his notes and comments on the 
same he shows his grasp of the subjects involved. The field 
in which he has shown particular proficiency is the field of 
the Traditions. The emphasis which the f Abduh movement 
places upon the 'genuine ' Sunnah only, as one of the essential 
sources of the revised Islam, has made this necessary. In the 
ability to test the genuineness of the various traditions, he has 
developed, in Goldziher's opinion, 'a great mastership that 
reminds one at times of the ancient classics of Hadith 
criticism'. 1 His writings give evidence, also, of familiarity 
with a number of modern sciences, which he turns skilfully 
to account in his interpretation and defence of Islam. 


Soon after his arrival in Cairo, Rashid Rida embarked on 
his venture in journalism. Al-Manar appeared on the twenty- 
second of Shawwal, a.h. 1315 (March 17, 1898), 2 as a weekly 
journal of eight pages, containing telegrams of the week and 
news items, some of which were of only temporary interest 
or value, in addition to the special articles. Beginning with 
the second year, the form was changed to that of a monthly 
periodical. The reception accorded to the new venture was 
at first discouraging. The copies sent to Syria and Turkey 
were intercepted by the Turkish Government, while the 
majority of the copies sent to prospective subscribers in 
Egypt were returned. By the end of the third year, the 
number of subscribers did not exceed three or four hundred. 
The fifth year, however, marked a beginning in an increase 
of circulation. By the twelfth year (1909), remaining copies 
of Volume I were selling for four times the original price ; a 

1 Koranavslegung, p. 335. 

2 Al-Manar, i. 1. The date of the first issue is there given as ten days 
from the end of Shawwal, a. h. 1315/ a.d. 1897. But the actual date as given 
on the first issue of the magazine is as given above. This date is confirmed 
by that of the closing number of the year, which is March 6, 1899. 

Muhammad RasMd Rida and Al-Manar 181 

second printing was therefore made, in the form which had 
been followed after the first year. 1 No indications are afforded 
of the amount of the circulation during recent years. 

It was Rashid Rida's desire, in founding Al-Manar, to 
perpetuate the tradition of Al-'Urwah al-Wtithkah, except 
with respect to its political policy which was no longer called 
for. 2 The general purpose of reform was the same as that 
for which the earlier publication had laboured. Some of the 
items included within this general purpose are the following : 
to promote social, religious, and economic reforms ; to prove 
the suitability of Islam as a religious system under present 
conditions, and the practicability of the Divine Law as an 
instrument of government; to remove superstitions and 
beliefs that do not belong to Islam, and to counteract false 
teachings and interpretations of Muslim beliefs, such as 
prevalent ideas of predestination, the bigotry of the different 
Schools, or Rites, of Canon law, the abuses connected with 
the cult of saints and the practices of the Sufi orders; to 
encourage tolerance and unity among the different sects ; to 
promote general education, together with the reform of 
text-books and methods of education, and to encourage 
progress in the sciences and arts ; and to arouse the Muslim 
nations to competition with other nations in all matters 
which are essential to national progress. 3 

To this ambitious programme, Al-Manar has been dedi- 
cated from the first. The editor himself has been the most 
prolific contributor to its columns ; his articles have contained 
trenchant criticisms of the existing order of things in Egypt 
and elsewhere in the Muslim world, and zealous advocacy of 
the principles of Muhammad 'Abduh. Many articles from 
the pen of the latter have also appeared in its columns, and 
contributions from the more zealous of his disciples, and from 
friends of reform in other Muslim countries. In addition to 
articles dealing with reform in its various aspects, as indicated 
above, a section has been devoted, beginning with the third 
year and continuing until the present, to the publication of 
Muhammad c Abduh's Commentary on the Kur'dn ; a section, 
conducted by the editor, devoted to 'fatwas' or decisions on 

1 Al-Manar, i. 3, 4. 3 Ibid., ii. 340. 8 Ibid., i. 11, 12. 

182 Muhammad Rashtd Rida and Al-Manar 
questions concerning matters of law or religion which were 
addressed to the editor by correspondents, or, perhaps, repre- 
sented as such, although, in reality, devised by the editor 
himself, according to generally recognized editorial technique, 
and which have afforded many opportunities for ridiculing 
and criticizing the laborious casuistry of the prevailing sys- 
tems of canon law j 1 and sections containing news items from 
different Muslim countries, and reviews of books and other 

The editor seems to have had a general policy in mind 
which he intended to pursue over a course of years. A pre- 
paratory period, covering the first year or more, was to be 
given to a review of the general state of Muslim weakness and 
the need of reform, and an attempt to arouse concern over 
this condition. Supposing this preparatory period to have 
been successful, the following period was to set forth the 
proposals of Al-Manar, in accordance with which the needed 
reforms could be accomplished, and to direct the efforts of 
the Muslim Community in effecting them. This was the policy 
which Al-Manar followed. The editor, reviewing the results 
of it in 1905, after a period of eight years, found that his 
efforts had met with much general approval; many news- 
papers, imitating Al-Manar, took up the cry of reform, until 
it became the fashion to point out needs and weaknesses, 
sometimes by those who knew little of them, without any 
thought of the practical efforts for reform that should result. 
Al-Manar, therefore, returned again for a time to the policy 
of preparatory agitation. 2 This was the reply which Rashld 
Rida made to those who accused him of giving way before 
the hostile opinions and criticisms that assailed him from a 
number of sources. There are evidences in later years of 
similar reversals of policy which may, possibly, be due to 
similar reasons. As late as the year 1926-7, the editor thought 
it fitting to publish an article on the general conditions 
prevailing in Muslim countries, which had been written as 
long ago as 1905 but had not then been published, because 

1 Cf. Goldziher, Koranauslegung, pp. 332, 333, for an example of the 
questions submitted, and the 'fatwa' in reply. 
a Al-Manar, viii. 234. 

Muhammad RasMd Bida and Al-Manar 183 

1 the need for it now is as great, or even greater, than at the 
time of writing'. 1 

It was not the intention of the editor of Al-Manar, how- 
ever, to trust to mere agitation and instruction for the ac- 
complishment of reform. For this purpose, he advocated the 
formation of an Islamic Society (Al-jam* iyyak al-Isldmiy- 
ydh) under the patronage of the Caliph, the central branch 
to be at Mecca, with subsidiary branches in all Muslim coun- 
tries. 2 The principle which lay at the base of the organization 
was the belief that the brotherhood of Islam obliterates racial 
and national boundaries, and constitutes a bond which unites 
all Muslims as one community, and that the Shari'ah, the 
Divine Law of Islam, can unite all nationalities in equality of 
government, both Muslim and non-Muslim, even though the 
latter do not accept the faith of Islam. 3 The object of this 
society was to unite all Muslims in submission to a common 
code of doctrines and morals, a common code of laws, and a 
common language, the Arabic, to suppress harmful teachings 
and practices, and to propagate Islam. 4 The Ottoman Sultan 
was to be recognized as the actual leader, as being the most 
powerful Muslim ruler. But the separate Muslim govern- 
ments were to be regarded as component states in a con- 
federation resembling that of the United States of America, 
each ruler to govern with the assistance of a representative 
assembly, and to enjoy independence in the internal adminis- 
tration of his realm, while all the states together would 
present a united front to their foes. 5 This was to be the ideal 
of Muslim unity. The society, however, was to be entirely 
dissociated from all political designs ; for, although Church and 
State are essentially united in Islam, on the purely religious 
side, Rashid Ri4a contends, no connexion with politics is 
required, and those who engage in defence of Islam, or in 
teaching or in propagating, should not engage in politics. 6 

This scheme, which has evident points of similarity to the 
society founded by Jamal al-Dux and Muhammad 'Abduh, 
although without its political significance, seems to drop 
more or less into the background with the passing of the 

1 Al-Manar, xxviii. 765. a Ibid., i. 766. 3 Ibid., ii. 322-4. 

* Ibid., i. 767 sqq. B Ibid., i. 792, 793. 6 Ibid., xiv. 240. 

184 Muhammad Rashid Ridd and Al-Manar 

years. Al-Manar still preaches the ideal of a united Islam 
and uniform doctrines and laws ; but the society which was 
actually founded, so far as the record of Al-Manar itself 
goes, was one with somewhat more restricted aims, namely, 
'The Society of Propaganda and Guidance' (Jam'iyyat al~ 
da'wah wa al-irskad), of which more hereafter. 

Influences were coming to the fore in the Near East, how- 
ever, with which Al-Manar was destined to come into conflict 
in its advocacy of a common Islamic brotherhood that ignores 
national lines. In the early years of the twentieth century, 
the Nationalist Party of Egypt was rejuvenated under the 
leadership of Mustafa Kamil Pasha and his party -organ, Al- 
Liwa. This party had no interest in religion or religious 
reform, but stood for an exclusive nationalism based on racial 
distinctions, although, according to Al-Manar, they excluded 
also all Egyptians who were not Muslims. 1 Since Al-Manar 
was unfavourable to this idea, it was criticized by Al-Liwa. 
Muhammad Bey Farid, who came into the leadership of the 
party when Mustafa Kamil died in 1908, continued this 
policy of opposition through his party -organ, Al-'Alam, the 
editor of which was 'Abd al-Aziz Shawish, formerly a lec- 
turer in Arabic in Oxford University. 2 The two Nationalist 
leaders attributed political designs to Al-Manar in the for- 
mation of its society. 3 In more recent years, Al-Siyasah has 
drawn the fire of Al-Manar, because the former advocates a 
nationalism in which religion and language are not the deter- 
mining factors, 'so that they count a Muslim and an Arab 
(who holds a foremost, place in the world of Islam) as a 
foreigner, if he does not belong to the same country as them- 
selves. Thus the Sharif (descendant of the Prophet) of the 
Hijaz or of Syria is no better to them than a heathen from 
China. 4 

1 Al-Manar, viii. 478. It should be noted, however, that Mustafa Kamil's 
nationalism did not exclude Pan-Islamic ideals. Cf . The Truth About Egypt, 
pp. 28 sqq. ; also MashdMr, i. 289-301, where, in the biographical account 
of him, it is stated that on more than one occasion he undertook missions 
of Pan-Islamic purport to Constantinople and elsewhere. Cf. also Tardjim 
Misriyyah wa Gkarbiyyah, by Dr. Husain Haikal, p. 157. It was hoped that 
these efforts would eventually bring support to Egypt in her national aims. 

2 The Truth about Egypt, by J. R. Alexander (London, 1911), p. 165. 

3 Al-Manar, xiv (1911), 36- 4 Ibid., xxvii (1926-7), 119. 

Muhammad RasMd Ridd and Al-Manar 185 

In other respects, also, the scheme of Al-Manar for Muslim 
unity has received some checks. Rashid Rida had hoped 
much from the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 and the 
Constitution ; in fact, he admits that he himself had worked 
secretly for the securing of the Constitution from Abd al- 
Hamld because of the greater liberty which it would allow 
for reform activities. 1 But the subsequent rejuvenation of 
Turkey under Mustafa Pasha Kamal has defeated these 
expectations, for the case of this noted leader is one of 'pure 
unbelief and apostasy from Islam, of which there is no un- 
certainty \ 2 However, a new star of hope has appeared with 
the rise of the Wahhabl dynasty of Ibn Sa'ud in Arabia. The 
Government of Ibn Sa'ud is the greatest Muslim power in the 
world to-day, says Al-Manar ', since the fall of the Ottoman 
dynasty and the transformation of the Government of the 
Turks into a government without religion, and it is the only 
government that will give aid to the Sunnah and repudiate 
harmful innovations and anti-religionism. 3 

Advances of Muslim thought in other directions, also, are 
proving as little to Rashid Rida's liking, and are tending to 
throw him more and more on the side of the Conservatives 
rather than of the Liberal and progressive element. He has 
been accustomed to characterize his party as the ' Moderate 
Party', who mediate between the severely orthodox, on the 
one hand, whose strength lies in the blind devotion of 
the common people, and the ultra-progressive element on the 
other, who favour complete freedom of thought and the adop- 
tion of modern civilization and modern forms of government 
and man-made laws. As contrasted with these, the 'Moderate 
reformers ' affirm that Islam, if interpreted according to their 
principles, will be found to provide the only adequate solu- 
tion for modern social, political, and religious problems. 4 
While the claim to be a mediating party is, in some respects, 
justifiable, the logic of events sometimes proves the editor 
of Al~Manar to be a Conservative of the Conservatives. 
Unyielding adherence, in the most orthodox sense, to the 

1 Ibid., xiv. 43. a Ibid., xxviii (1927-8), 581. 

8 Ibid., xxvii. 638, also pp. 1-19. In regard to the caliphate, see 
below, Chapter X, under ' ( Ali ( Abd al-Razi^'. 4 Ibid., vii. 52; xxix. 66. 

186 Muhammad Rashid Rida and Al-Manar 
Kur'an, the Sunnah, and the Divine Law is fundamental to 
his whole manner of thinking ; a more liberal attitude towards 
these, as, for example, any concession regarding the necessity 
of retaining the Divine Law of Islam as the fundamental law 
of all Muslim countries, might weaken or endanger his whole 
system. Hence, in any question of choice between the Con- 
servative or the Liberal attitude, the position of Al-Manar 
amounts, practically, to that of the orthodox party. 

The case of the Nationalists of Egypt and Turkey has 
already been cited: these Al-Manar characterizes as atheists 
and infidels, because religion is not fundamental to their ideas 
of nationality. It applies the same designation to two of the 
younger scholars and writers of Egypt, whose critical attitude 
towards Islamic literature and Islamic institutions will 
receive notice in the concluding chapter. Enough may be 
anticipated here to give point to the fact that the attitude 
of Al-Manar towards these writers is not less uncompromising 
nor its anathemas less fervent than those of the extremely 

In the furor which arose about one of the two cases to 
which reference has just been made, Rashid Rida had oc- 
casion to give expression to his opinion on two questions 
which grew out of the wide discussion of the matter. His 
opinion reveals the limitations which he imposes upon 
scientific scholarship when it affects matters of belief, especi- 
ally belief in the Kur'an. One of these questions was : If a 
Muslim, as a result of his studies, comes to entertain an 
historical or critical belief that is contrary to the teaching of 
the Kur'an, such as denial of the historical existence of 
Abraham, does he thereby cease to be considered a Muslim, 
even though he himself continues to consider himself such in 
respect to all moral and religious matters ? The reply of 
Al-Manar to this is: 'If any one holds a belief contrary to 
the text of the Kur'an which affords decisive proof, a belief 
which is a matter of knowledge and not of interpretation, in 
that he believes that the statement of the Kur'an is not true, 
then, without doubt, he is not to be counted a member of the 
Muslim Community. Eor if any one denies the existence of 
Adam or Abraham or Ishmael, he is an unbeliever because 

Muhammad Rashid Rida and Al-Manar 187 

he gives the lie to the Word of God.' This does not deny to 
any one, Rashid Rida continues, the right to interpret certain 
passages of the Kur'an in an allegorical manner, as, for ex- 
ample, the story of Adam. Nor does it forbid acceptance of 
established facts of natural science, even though they be at 
variance with the apparent sense of the inspired text ; for, 
in that case, the expression of the text is to be interpreted as 
a metaphorical or figurative use, or an accommodation to 
common usage, such as the setting of the sun in a fountain 
or in the sea. 1 

The second question grows out of the first : May it not be 
that, in the near future, educated Muslims will come to dis- 
tinguish between religious and moral questions in the Kur'an, 
on the one hand, and historical and scientific questions, on the 
other, regarding the Kur'an as infallible with respect to the 
first but not so with respect to the second ? To this Rashid 
Rida replies that he considers that 'that contingency is very 
remote'. 2 


The general character of the reforms to which the pages of 
Al-Manar have been devoted for the past thirty years has 
already been indicated, first, in the life and teachings of 
Muhammad r Abduh, and, second, in the statement of the 
purpose for which Al-Manar was founded. The fundamental 
character of these reforms has been described as religious, 
that is 'to say, a thorough reform of the religion of Islam is, 
at once, the central motive which inspires them, the object 
for which they are undertaken, and the means by which they 
are to be accomplished. While it is true that the purely 
religious interest has been given a central place throughout 
the history of the movement, at the same time it should be 
remembered that the religion of Islam embraces all depart- 
ments of the life of its adherents, the civil, social, and political 
as well as the religious ; hence the inclusive character of the 
reforms attempted. 

To begin with, the very conception of the nature and value 
of the religion of Islam which is commonly held by Muslims 

1 Al-Manar, xxviii. 581, 582. 2 Ibid., p. 582. 

188 Muhammad RasMd Eidd and Al-Manar 
requires to be changed, it is maintained. Muslims generally 
believe that their religion contains some spiritual secret, 
which operates in a miraculous manner to render help to 
them and victory, independently of their own character and 
actions. They need to be taught that its true value does not 
consist in mysterious powers and gifts, but in the fact that it 
secures happiness for men in this life as well as in the life to 
come, by directing to a knowledge of the laws (sunan) of God 
which govern human progress, both for nations and for 
individuals ; men must learn these laws and act upon them 
with decision, knowing that God does not withhold worldly 
affairs from those who seek for them by the proper methods, 
whether they be believers or infidels. 1 

The responsibility for the backward state of Muslims be- 
longs principally to their rulers and their religious leaders. 
Their rulers have been ignorant of Islam and its laws ; they 
have permitted entire freedom in the case of evil-doing and 
unbelief and limited it in the case of learning and thought, 
and have substituted laws of human origin for the Divine 
Law. The 'Ulama have neglected the Kur'an and the Sunnah 
and the moral teachings of their religion, and instead have 
magnified differences of sects, and made much of works of 
law and theology, and have neglected the training of the 
people. The shaikhs of the Sufi orders, who have come to 
be the spiritual guides of the people, have made religion a 
sport and a means of entertainment ; the performance of their 
zikrs, which are only a confused mumbling of words, have 
taken the place of the public prayers, and the boisterous 
chanting of some of their special forms of petitions, or of 
portions of the Kur'an, on the occasion of the birthday 
festival ( mawlid) of some saint enlists more enthusiasm on 
the part of the people than do the true religious forms. Thus 
the hearts of the people have gone astray after their shaikhs ; 
miraculous powers are attributed to them, and they are con- 
sidered to be a means of blessing, living or dead; and after 
their death, their tombs become objects of veneration, and 
their intercession with God is sought for, even for the accom- 
plishment of requests that are logically impossible. In this 

1 Al-Manar ; i. 586 sqq. 

Muhammad Rashtd Ridd and Al-Manar 189 

fashion the sins of the people are brought home to them by 
the reformers, and responsibility for them is laid primarily at 
the door of the leaders. 1 

Of the many objectionable practices which have found 
their way into Islam as bida* (innovations, in this case 
harmful innovations; sing, bid'ah), and the considerations 
which Al-Manar has urged against them in its endeavour to 
uproot them, it will not be possible to speak, except to men- 
tion a few of the most characteristic ones. These practices 
have been allowed to creep into Islam and gradually gain a 
hold over the people, it is claimed, either because the learned 
men and the religious leaders have been too negligent and 
easy going, or because they have themselves introduced them 
to strengthen the hold of religion upon the common people. 2 
Many abuses are outgrowths of the cult of saints, such as 
ascribing to the more noted saints, as 'Abd al-Kadir al- 
Jilani, names and honours that belong only to God, the 
offering of prayers and sacrifices at their tombs, arid the 
immoralities and irregularities which characterize the cele- 
bration of the annual mawlids, or festivals, of certain of the 
saints, as that of Ahmad al-Badawi at Tanta. 3 Others are 
connected with the Sufi orders: the veneration of the people 
for the shaikhs or heads of these orders, and the blind sub- 
mission of the initiate to the will of the shaikh, are con- 
sidered particularly harmful, and the noisy and disorderly 
performance of the zikrs are deplored. 4 Others are the 
result of excessive veneration for the Kur'an and other 
objects that are held in sacred regard: of this sort, are the 
use of portions of the Kur'an as charms and amulets, the 
stroking of pillars, stones, and the like, that are popularly 
believed to possess special powers. Rashid Rida himself once 
narrowly escaped a near riot of the worshippers in the 

1 Al-Manar, i, series of six articles, beginning p. 606, on ' Our Leaders and 
Chief Men have led us Astray' ; On the Sufis, the last article, pp. 722-30 ; 
also Tafsir, ii. 98, 99; also two articles in Al-Manar, i. 404 sqq., and 423 
sqq., on ' Spiritual Authority of the Shaikhs of the Sufi Orders'. 

2 Tafsir, ii. 99. 

8 Al-Manar, i. 729 ; also pp. 77 sqq. ; viii. 191, 192 ; six articles in ii, begin- 
ning p. 401, on 'Miracles of the Saints' ; on the ' Tanta Mawlid', iv. 594-600. 

4 Cf. references under footnote 1, above. The topic is recurred to fre- 
quently in both Al-Manar and the, Commentary. 

190 Muhammad RasMd Rida and Al-Manar 
Hasanain Mosque in Cairo, held in special sanctity as the 
seputed resting-place of the head of Al-Husain, grandson of 
the Prophet, because he ventured to address the people 
assembled there on the futility of expecting to receive blessing 
from such practices, 1 Still other practices seem to be less 
harmful in themselves, but are objected to because they are 
not a part of Islam. For this reason, the decoration of the 
'Kiswah', the covering which is sent to Mecca each year from 
Egypt for the Ka'bah, and the Procession of the 'Mahmal', 
at which the official ceremonies of its departure take place, 
are held to be bid' ah. 2 

The fundamental fault, however, which underlies the 
present degeneracy is that Islam has been suffered to drift 
away from its early simplicity. This Al-Manar has main- 
tained from its earliest numbers to its latest, as did Muham- 
mad Abduh also. So simple was the religion in its early days 
that it was easy for other peoples to learn Islam from the 
Arabs, and thus the rapid spread of Islam was facilitated. 
Then came the centuries of bid'ah. The science of juris- 
prudence was developed on the ground that the rulers re- 
quired a wider system of legislation than that afforded by the 
practical regulations of the Kur'an and the Sunnah. Contact 
with the thought of other nations led to the development of 
the science of theology in defence of the articles of belief, 
and to the introduction of the speculations of philosophy. 
Thus there was introduced into Islam what does not belong 
to it, and it ceased to be easy and simple and became difficult 
and involved. Whereas it was possible for an Arab in the 
time of the Prophet to learn enough of the religious practices, 
in 'one sitting', to become a Muslim, in the present day a 
Muslim, who has grown up among Muslims, can with difficulty 
learn the requirements of the rite to which he belongs by 
reason of having inherited adherence to it, in a number of 
years. ' Thus the decisive characteristics of Islam, that gave 
it its most perfect form and its most perfect state before any 
books at all were written, have disappeared.' 3 

1 Al-Manar, ii. 735; Taf&ir> ii. 191. The story of the Hasanain Mosque is 
found in Al-Manar, vi. 793 ; Goldziher, Koranauslegung, p. 337. 

3 Al-Manar, viii. 839, 840. 3 Ibid., xxix (1928), 63, 64. 

Muhammad Rashid Rida and Al-Manar 191 

All that is required, therefore, is to return to that early 
form. All the bases (usul) of the religion, consisting of correct 
beliefs, moral and ethical teachings, the religious practices 
approved by God, and the general principles governing civil 
relationships, were completed in the time of the Prophet. 
Further, the moral principles that were to underlie all legal 
and governmental regulations were also affirmed, such as 
justice, equality of rights, prohibition of crimes, prescription 
of punishment for certain offences, government by representa- 
tion, and the like. In all other matters, the Divine Law -giver 
delegated detailed legislation to those entrusted with author- 
ity, that is, the learned men and the rulers, who are required 
by the Divine Law to be men of learning and justice, that 
they may take counsel together and prescribe what is of most 
advantage to the Community, according to the requirements 
of the time. The Companions so understood the matter with- 
out an express deliverance from the Prophet, as several 
traditions show. In fact, it is related of them that they 
decided according to the general welfare even though their 
decisions were contrary to the Sunnah which was followed, 
as though they believed that regard for the general welfare 
was the fundamental consideration, rather than observance 
of the details of the Law. 1 Muslims should, therefore, return 
to the practice 'of the early days of the first four caliphs, 
whose Sunnah, together with his own Sunnah, the Prophet 
commanded Muslims to hold fast to, and they should lay 
aside everything that has been introduced into Islam that is 
contrary to that practice'. 2 

The details of that practice are to be determined by com- 
petent scholars. The articles of belief are to be those which 
are contained in the Kur'an ; these are to be accepted ' with- 
out dealing with them in a philosophical manner', although 
proofs are to be sought for them. Likewise, the moral and 
ethical teachings of the Kur'an and the Sunnah are sufficient 
because of their moderation. The excesses of the Sufis in 
spiritual matters, in asceticism, and in some other respects, 
will thus be avoided. 3 The further suggestion is made, that 
a book be compiled containing all doctrines and moral and 

1 Ibid., iv. 210. 2 Ibid., p. 215. 3 Ibid., p. 216. 

192 Muhammad Rashid Bida, and Al-Manar 

ethical principles upon which all Muslim sects are in agree- 
ment, the book to be simple in style, and to be translated 
into all the languages in use among Muslims. This book will 
constitute the essentials of belief upon which all Muslims 
are to unite ; in minor details, differences of belief are per- 
mitted, so long as these differences do not include matters 
that have been declared by common consent to be unbelief, 
and all who profess this common body of beliefs are to be 
recognized as Muslims. 1 

The religious practices which are to be adopted by all 
Muslims in common, that is, the prayers, fasts, pilgrimage, 
and similar duties prescribed by the religious cult of Islam, 
are to be those which are plainly set forth in the Sunnah 
(Usage) of the Prophet and which have been recognized, by 
the uniform practice of succeeding generations, as essential 
to Islam. Matters in which the early generations differed, as 
in regard to certain details of the prayer ritual, for example, 
are to be left to each Muslim to decide for himself which one 
of the ways practised by the early fathers he should adopt. 2 
Thus, in all essential practices, all Muslims would adopt the 
requirements of a single rite, or school of canon law (madhhab), 
instead of being divided, as at present, by the innumerable 
and often inconsequential details of the four schools. There 
would be many details, of course, which are fully dealt with 
by the law books of the four rites, but which would not be 
included within the common body of practices of the single 
rite. In regard to these details, each Muslim would be free 
to consult the regulations of all the four rites, or any one of 
them, and to follow that method of the four which he prefers, 
instead of being bound, as at present, to the regulations of 
the one rite to which he belongs; just as a man who is ill 
consults the physician whom he prefers. Thus every Muslim 
would be exercising independent investigation (ijtihdd) by 
choosing the method which he prefers ; at the same time, he 
would be practising acceptance on authority (taklid) since 
he adopts the method of one of the four rites. 3 One result to 
be anticipated from uniformity in essentials and individual 

1 Al-Manar, i. 767; iv. 216; xxii. 184. 

2 Ibid., iv. 216. 3 Ibid., iv. 287, 369; xxii. 184, 185. 

Muhammad Rashid Eidd and Al-Manar 193 

freedom in details would be the elimination of bigoted de- 
votion to a single rite and hatred towards the adherents of all 
others, and thus discussion of differences could take place in 
a conciliatory spirit. 1 

As for the regulations which govern social relations and 
civil and commercial transactions, these should be separated 
entirely from religion and should not be inextricably bound 
up as part of a code that is regarded as sacrosanct and eter- 
nally unchangeable, as is the case with the law books of the 
four rites. While these laws should be based upon the 
Kur'an and the Sunnah, they should be subject to change 
from age to age, according to the requirements of each age. 2 
The rigid and unchangeable character of the enactments of 
the four rites is one of the principal reasons for the backward- 
ness of Muslim nations to-day; and because of this, the 
Divine Law of Islam has been rejected by many Muslim 
governments as unsuitable for present conditions. This is 
claimed by Al-Manar in many places, and innumerable ex- 
amples are given showing the necessity of adapting these 
laws to present conditions. An example or two may be chosen, 
however, from Rashid Rida's book on The Caliphate. 3 The 
caliph whom the Turks chose, when the Caliphate was 
separated from the State, was a man who was proficient in 
painting and in playing musical instruments, both of which 
accomplishments are forbidden by all four Islamic rites, and 
most strictly of all by the Hanifite rite to which the Turks 
belong. So strictly are they forbidden, that in one of the 
courts of Cairo recently, says Rashid Rida, the witness of a 
teacher of music was not accepted by the court, as being 
illegal. Yet a way out of the difficulty could be found by 
applying the principle of independent investigation (ijtihdd). 
The same difficulty was encountered when it was proposed to 
erect a statue to Kamal Pasha in Angora. Kamal Pasha 
solved the difficulty by declaring that the making of statues 
is not forbidden to-day as it was in the days when Muslims 
were just out of idolatry, and that it is necessary for 

1 Ibid., iv. 293; xxii. 185. 

2 Ibid., iv. 859, and frequently. 

3 Al-khilafah aw al-imamah al-^uzmah, Cairo, 1341/1922, pp. 81, 82. 

194 Muhammad Bashid Bidd and Al-Manar 

the Turks to practise this art, for it is one of the arts of 

civilization. 1 

The task of adapting the laws of Islam to the needs of the 
present can only be done by scholars and men in authority 
who are thoroughly qualified to do so by their attainments 
in both the religious and secular sciences. In order, therefore, 
that a body of laws, suitable for Muslim nations in the present 
day, might be drawn up, it is necessary that a number of such 
competent men from different Muslim lands should confer 
together. They should compare the enactments of the four 
schools of canon law with the Kur'an and the Sunnah, and 
draw up a book of laws, based, first of all, upon the principles 
of the Divine Law, but based also, in the second place, upon 
the principle of regard for the common weal and the require- 
ments of the present time. The caliph would then put these 
laws into effect by giving instructions to the kadis in all 
Muslim lands to proceed in accordance with them. If the 
caliph refuses to accept this responsibility, it is the duty of 
the 'Ulama to see that he undertakes it. If they refuse, the 
people themselves must take steps to secure reform. 2 Further- 
more, in order to secure officials who are competent to enforce 
such laws, all officials, including the caliph, should receive 
training in schools established for this purpose. 3 

The manner in which the foregoing principles would 
operate and some of the questions which would be raised in 
the process, received recent illustration (1928) in the discus- 
sion of a motion which was presented in the Egyptian 
Chamber of Deputies, providing for the abolishment of the 
religious foundations known as 'private' or 'family wakfs' 
(al-awkaf al-ahliyyah), on the ground of mismanagement, 
among other reasons. Rashid Rida admits mismanagement 
in many cases, and adds that many foundations provide for 
objects that are contrary to the true Islam, such as maintain- 
ing and decorating the tombs of saints. Yet the religious 

1 Muhammad 'Abduh expressed a similar opinion regarding the use of 
pictures and statues. They are not forbidden so long as there is no danger 
of their being devoted to improper religious uses. Tdrikh, ii. 444 sqq. 
Al-Manar speaks to the same effect, iv. 56. 

3 Al-M anar, iv. 860, 866; Koranauslegung, pp. 334, 335. 

3 Ibid., xxvii. 142. 

Muhammad Rashid Rida and Al-Manar 195 

foundations themselves are a true Muslim institution, based 
on the text of the Divine Law and on consecutive Muslim 
practice since the first generation. They cannot be abro- 
gated, therefore, by individual opinion, and are not to be 
abolished because of abuses. The important question raised 
by the incident is that of allowing the legislative body of the 
government, established by constitution, to have the right 
to pass legislation which will supersede that which is un- 
doubtedly a part of the Divine Law. Rashid Rida maintains 
that the fundamental law of the land should not grant this 
right to Parliament, so long as the law recognizes Islam as 
the official religion of the government. Other matters of 
legislation, however, that do not involve decisive texts or 
consecutive practice, are to be dealt with as the proofs 
indicate or common welfare requires. 1 

Society for Propaganda and Guidance. 

It is one of the fundamental principles of the ' Abduh move- 
ment that every Muslim should consider himself responsible, 
not only for strengthening the bonds of Islam among his 
fellow religionists and encouraging the performance of its 
duties and the fulfilment of its ethical requirements, but also 
for actively engaging in the spread of Islam among non- 
Muslims, inasmuch as it is a universal religion. 2 This principle, 
and, in fact, the entire attitude of the movement on both 
secular and religious matters, presupposes the general spread 
of education among the people. Rashid Rida, in all his writ- 
ings and public addresses, as did Muhammad c Abduh before 
him, urges Muslims to devote their means to that most ex- 
cellent of all good works, namely, the founding of schools. 
The founding of schools, he says, is better than the founding 
of mosques, for the prayer of an ignorant man in a mosque is 
valueless, whereas, through the founding of schools, ignorance 
will be removed and thus both secular and religious works will 

1 Ibid., xxix. 75-7. The question has come up before, it is there 
f virther stated, in legislation concerning marriage and divorce. A proposal 
was also made in Parliament to abolish the office of Grand Mufti. Al- 
Manar repeats its suggestion that a commission of leading 'Ulama study all 
such questions and report what the regulations of the true Islam are in 
regard to them. 2 Cf. above, pp. 172, 173. 

196 Muhammad Bashid Ridd and Al-Manar 
be correctly performed. 1 Elsewhere he remarks that the only 
way to the prosperity of a nation lies in the general extension 
of education. 2 The governmental system of education is 
criticized by Al-Manar on two accounts : first, it aims chiefly 
to provide training for civil service and government employ 
rather than a general education ; and, second, it fails to pro- 
vide adequate religious training, even where it is not hostile 
to religion. Al-Manar places particular emphasis upon the 
necessity of all schools providing instruction in the duties and 
doctrines of Islam. 3 

It was for the purpose of promoting the above-mentioned 
objectives and, at the same time, of counteracting the activi- 
ties of Christian missions in Muslim lands that the ' Society of 
Propaganda and Guidance' (JamHyyat al-dcfioali wa al~ 
irshad) was formed. The idea of such a society first suggested 
itself to the mind of Rashid Rida when he was a student in 
Tripoli. He used to frequent the bookshop of the American 
missionaries in that city, where he read the literature pro- 
vided and engaged in argument, he informs us, and he used 
to wish that the Muslims had a society like theirs and schools 
like theirs. When he removed to Cairo, the idea took stronger 
hold upon him and he began, as early as 1900, to write on the 
subject of replying to Christian propaganda by similar under- 
takings on the part of Muslims. On the occasion of the 
Japanese * Parliament of Religions', in 1906, he advocated 
sending to the Japanese a summons to embrace Islam. It 
was then that he set to work to found a society for purposes 
of propaganda, the first work of which should be the founding 
of a school for the preparation of missionaries. Although the 
project was received with general approval in Muslim lands, 
progress was delayed for a number of years by intervening 
events. 4 

1 Al-Manar, vi. 152; Koranauslegung, p. 342. 

2 Ibid., i. 46. 

3 Ibid., i. 56-74, for example, where a programme of studies is suggested. 
Cf. similar criticisms and suggestion by Muhammad 'Abduh in 'Proposals 
for Education in Egypt', Tdrikh, ii. 364-81 ; also in Al-Manar, xxiii. 596. 

4 Al-Manar, xiv. 42, 43. Muhammad 'Abduh, as a result of his visit to 
the Capuchin monastery and school in Palermo, asked if it had ever occurred 
to Muslims to found a training-school that would be the centre of pro- 
paganda. Tdrikh, ii. 426. Later he began plans for a training-school. 

Muhammad Rashid Rida and Al-Manar 197 
Finally, in 1909, the project was revived, this time with 
the purpose of launching it in Turkey, in order to enjoy the 
advantages of the new constitution and to escape the opposi- 
tion of the Nationalist Party of Egypt, led by Muhammad 
Bey Farid and Shaikh Abd al- Aziz Shawish. 1 Rashid Rida 
spent a whole year in Constantinople, working on behalf of 
the project among the educated men and the members of the 
Government. Government approval for the founding of the 
society and its school was finally secured, after considerable 
modification of the original plan, but the fall of the ministry 
at this critical juncture necessitated the renewal of negotia- 
tions. When permission was again secured, it was upon con- 
ditions which Rashid Rida was unwilling to accept. 2 It was 
therefore decided to found the society and school in Cairo. In 
due time, the society was organized, with Mahmud Bey 
Salim as President and Rashid Rida as Vice-President and 
Principal of the school. All Muslims, who made a substantial 
contribution to the funds of the society or paid a certain sum 
as annual dues, were eligible for membership. 3 A very large 
contribution was made by one of the Arab merchant princes 
of Bombay. 4 The formal opening of the school, which was 
situated on the island of Rodah at Cairo, took place on the 
eve of the birthday festival of the Prophet, and classes were 
begun the following day, 13 Rabi c al-Awwal, a.h. 1330 (March 
3, 1912). 5 

The school, which is called, indifferently, 'The Institute, 
or The School, of Propaganda and Guidance ' (Ddr al-da'wah 
wa al-irshad, or Madrasah, &c), is described as a college in 
which instruction is given in the subjects usually taught, 
with additional emphasis upon religious training, 6 and its 
primary object is said to be : ' Improvement of the method of 
Islamic teaching, together with religious training.' 7 The 

Al-Manar, viii. 895. But Rashid Rida denies that he received the idea of his 
school from Muhammad ( Abduh or that the latter ever mentioned founding 
a society and school for purposes of propaganda (xiv. 58) ; 

1 Al-Manar, xiv. 37, 42 ; xv. 925, 926. They charged secret designs for the 
overthrow of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of an all-Arab 
empire under British protection. 2 Al-Manar, xiv. 35-7, 43-6. 

8 Ibid., pp. 116, 117. 4 Ibid., p. 193. 

6 Ibid., xv. 226, 227. Goldziher, Koranauslegung, p. 343, gives a year 
earlier. fl Ibid., xiv. 786. 7 Ibid., p. 801. 

198 Muhammad Bashid Bida and Al-Manar 
organization of the school and its curriculum, together with 
the constitution of the society, are given in detail in the pages 
of Al-Mandr. 1 Muslim young men, of the age of twenty to 
twenty-five years and the requisite scholastic standing, are 
received as pupils, preference being given to students from 
distant Muslim lands where the need of Muslims is greatest, 
as China, India, Malaysia, &c. Students have been enrolled 
from East Africa, North Africa, Turkey, Turkestan, India, 
Java, and Malaysia. 2 Tuition and board and lodging are free, 
and financial help is also provided for those who need it. 
Those who complete satisfactorily a three years' course of 
training are given the diploma of 'murshid', or 'guide', and 
are competent to preach or teach in schools of the society, 
among Muslims. Those who complete an additional three 
years qualify as 'da/ in', or 'summoner', that is, missionary 
to non-Muslims. All students are required to agree that they 
will go to whatever country they may be sent. 3 The school 
was discontinued on the outbreak of the Great War, however, 
and has not, up to the present, been reopened. 

The 'Mandr' Commentary. 

This is the name which is given to the Commentary on the 
Kur'dn which was begun by Muhammad 'Abduh and con- 
tinued, since his death, by Rashid Rida. Since the material 
has first appeared in the columns of Al-Mandr before separate 
publication, and its preparation has been due, to so large an 
extent, to the labours of the editor of Al-Mandr , it is fitting 
that the title of the Commentary as a whole should celebrate 
the connexion. 

In fact, the initiation of the work was due, in the first place, 
to the earnest representations of Rashid Rida, according to 
his own account. 4 When he first came to Cairo he urged 
Muhammad ( Abduh to begin the preparation of a commentary 
on the whole Kur'an in the spirit, and according to the 
method, of his interpretation of certain passages that had 
appeared in Al-'Urwah al-Wuihkah. Abduh was at first not 
persuaded that another commentary was necessary or that 

1 Al-Mandr, xiv. 785 sqq., 801 sqq., 114 sqq. 2 Ibid., xv. 928. 

3 Ibid., xiv. 786-8. 4 Al-Mandr, xxviii. 650 sqq. 

Muhammad RasMd Rida and Al-Manar 199 

it would accomplish what was intended, even if it were neces- 
sary; but he finally yielded so far as to begin a series of 
lectures on the Kur'an in the Azhar University. Rashid Rida 
attended these lectures and took notes, which he afterwards 
revised and enlarged. The result was shown to Muhammad 
'Abduh who approved, or corrected as necessary. These 
lectures began to appear in Al-Manar ', volume iii (a.d. 1900), 
as the commentary of Muhammad ' Abduh ; since the editor 
thought it proper, so long as 'Abduh had read what had been 
written, to ascribe them to him. 

Publication of these lectures in separate form was begun 
during ' Abduh's lifetime. The commentary on ' Siirat al-' Asr J 
(Surah ciii) first was printed, followed by the final section of 
the Kur'an, Surahs lxxviii-cxiv, beginning with the words, 
' Of what ask they of one another % ' (*amma yas'alun), and the 
opening Surah, ' Al-Fatihah \ x Publication of the main body 
of the Commentary was begun with the second section (juz*) 
of the Kur'an, since the comment on the first section was 
briefer and did not agree completely in method with later 
sections. Volumes ii to x were published during the years 
1908 to 1931, in which the comment was carried as far as 
' Siirat al-Taubah ' (ix. 91). The first section has now been re- 
vised to conform in method with later sections and appeared 
in November 1927, as volume i. 2 

After the death of Muhammad 'Abduh, Rashid Rida felt 
that he should continue the Commentary in a manner which 
would be that of his master, as closely as possible. Even 
during 'Abduh's lifetime, much of what was written had been 
directly Rashid Rida's own, although it had all been attri- 
buted to ' Abduh . After the latter 's death , Rashid distinguishes 
between what he had preserved of 'Abduh's words and what 
is his own work. 'I believe, however', he says, 'that had he 
lived and read it, he would have approved all of it.' He has 
changed his method somewhat, also, to include a larger 
quotation from the correct Traditions which relate to each 
verse, attention to critical questions of grammar and philo- 
logy, digressions on matters of particular interest or necessity 

1 For dates of publication, see Appendix on Bibliography. 

2 Al-Manar, xxviii. 641. 

200 Muhammad Bashid Eidd and Al-Manar 
in view of modern conditions, and similar details. He advises 
that the digressions should be read separately, in order that 
the purpose of the Commentary to afford guidance and 
inspiration may not be defeated. 

In putting forth the new volume, Rashid Rida has printed 
an introduction to it in Al-Manar, 1 in which he gives an 
extended criticism of the various methods of Kur'an inter- 
pretation, particularly in regard to the use of traditional 
interpretations handed down from the Companions and their 
immediate successors {TabV%rt). The majority of previous 
commentaries, he says, are chiefly occupied with discussions 
of technical terms, or with theological disputes, or mystical 
interpretations, or matters in regard to which the various 
sects differ. Eakhr al-Razi has added still another element, 
in the introduction of the scientific views of his own day, in 
which he has been followed by at least one modern commen- 
tator who makes extensive use of modern science, such as 
astronomy, botany, and zoology, in connexion with what he 
calls 'the interpretation of the verse'. 2 To be sure, certain 
things are necessary to an understanding of the Kur'an or 
contribute to it ; but to multiply them to such an extent as 
has been generally done only distracts the reader from the 
true intent of the Divine text. 3 

As for the traditional interpretations, some of them are 
necessary; for nothing will take precedence of a genuine 
tradition that is traced back to the Prophet through one of the 
Companions. Next to this is a genuine tradition from the 
scholars among the Companions, on subjects connected with 
the linguistic sense or the practice of their day. But genuine 
traditions of these two classes are few. Most of the tradi- 
tional interpretations are traceable to narrators who were 
Jewish or Persian heretics, or converts from among the Jews 
and Christians. All of them consist of anecdotes of the apostles 
and their people, their books and their miracles, or the history 
of other individuals, like the Men of the Cave (Surah xviii), 
or places like ' Iram adorned with pillars ' (Surah lxxxix. 6), &c. 

1 Al-Manar, xxviii. 641. 

2 The reference is probably to Shaikh T^t^i Jawharl. See below, 
Chapter IX, under 'Apologetics'. 3 Al-Manar, xxviii. 647. 

Muhammad Rashid Ridd and Al-Manar 201 

These are all legends and forgeries which the narrators, and 
even some of the Companions, accepted in good faith. The 
opinion of Ibn Taimiyyah is quoted at length. He refused to 
accept any Jewish anecdotes, whether true or false in them- 
selves, including those which emanated from Ka'b al-Ahbar 
and Wahb ibn Munabbah, although the older commentators, 
says Rashid Rida, were deceived by them in spite of their lies 
which have become apparent to us. The conclusion is, that 
none of the traditional interpretations are to be accepted 
unless supported as a genuine tradition reported by a Com- 
panion as from the Prophet. 1 The suggestion is made that 
such of these interpretations as may be beneficial be collected 
separately, like the books of traditions, and the validity of 
their authorities be made clear ; from these choice could be 
made for use in commentaries, without reproducing the name 
of the authorities. 2 

Numerous illustrations have already been given of the 
manner in which Muhammad 'Abduh's principles are, on all 
possible occasions, deduced from and illustrated by the 
Kur'an, or more correctly, in many cases at least, read into 
the Kur'an. The character of the book as Divine revelation, 
infallibly inspired in every particular, is always insisted upon. 
Even the order and arrangement of the words and the con- 
nexion of thought are held to be inspired. The older com- 
mentaries, as that of Al-Jalalain, which 'Abduh made the 
basis of his Kur'an lectures, 3 allowed that the necessity for 
the occurrence, at the end of a verse, of a word which would 
rhyme with adjacent verses, sometimes determined which of 
two practically synonymous words should precede and which 
should follow, as 'ra'uf ' and 'rahlm' ; but the 'Manar* Com- 
mentary declares that the Kur'an is no piece of poetry and is 
therefore not subject to requirements of rhyme, but each 
word is in the proper place to which God assigned it. 4 In like 
manner, where former commentators found separate occa- 
sions of revelation (asbab al-nuzitl) for separate portions and 
verses, and even parts of verses, the 'Manar* Commentary 

1 Al-Manar, xxviii. 650. 2 Ibid., p. 648. 8 Ibid., p. 656. 

4 Tafslr, ii. 11, 12 (the same in Al-Manar, vii. 91), on Surah ii. 136-8; 

Koranauslegung, pp. 345-7. 

202 Muhammad Rashid Eida and Al-Manar 
takes pains to point out the connexion of thought which 
binds the separate parts of each verse together, or binds verse 
to verse. Thus, on Surah ii. 216-18, where wine and games 
of chance, the giving of alms, and the care of orphans are 
mentioned in succession, it is pointed out that the first two 
matters deal with two different classes of people and their 
ways of spending money; it was appropriate, therefore, to 
mention after them a question about a class of persons that 
is most deserving of all classes to have mdney expended in 
their behalf, namely, orphans. 1 

Formative Influences. 

In concluding the survey of the principles and tendencies 
of the movement which has been discussed at length in the 
preceding chapters, the factors which have mainly exerted 
a formative influence upon the movement may be briefly 
noted. These factors, as has been shown by Goldziher in the 
work which has been frequently referred to, 2 are three in 
number : first, the ethico -religious conceptions of Al-Ghazzali ; 
second, the ultra -conservative tendency of those two icono- 
clasts of the thirteenth century a.d., Ibn Taimiyyah and his 
pupil, Ibn al-Kayyim al-Jawziyyah ; and third, the necessity 
of adaptation to the demands of modern progress. 

The part which the teachings of Al-Ghazzali (a.d. 1059- 
1111) have played in determining one of the most significant 
characteristics of this movement furnishes a further striking 
illustration of the strangely vitalizing influence which those 
teachings have continued to exert in Islam. All three of the 
individuals who are chiefly responsible for this movement were 
deeply affected by Al-Ghazzall's writings : Jamal al-Din al- 
Afghani, who, despite the brevity of his works which remain 
to us, gives evidence of the importance which he attached to 
those writings; Muhammad 'Abduh, in whose pages the 
influence is unmistakable; and Muhammad Rashid Rida, 
who acknowledges him as the first great teacher of his early 
days. The influence of Al-Ghazzali is discernible, not simply 
in direct appeal to his writings, which is, indeed, frequent ; 
but, more considerably, in the reproduction of his most 

1 Tafsftr, ii. 350. a Koranavslegung, pp. 335-42. 

Muhammad Rashid Ridd and Al-Manar 203 

characteristic religious ideas and in reminiscences, even, of 
his words and expressions ; and, more particularly still, in the 
spirit which dominates the whole conception of the religious 
life as something inward and vital, an affair of the heart, 
with relation to which the outward forms are but secondary 
and contributory. Particular illustration of this may be 
found in what is said above of the teachings of Muhammad 
' Abduh regarding faith, prayer, and the performance of other 
religious duties. 1 What is there evident may be taken as a 
characteristic indication of the spirit which the 'Abduh move- 
ment endeavours to introduce into the religious practices and 
beliefs of Muslims of to-day. Furthermore, in the emphasis 
placed upon the direct study and exegesis of the Kur'an 
rather than the ponderous tomes of theology, in order that 
faith might be derived from its proper source, 2 and in the 
attempt to bring the dogmas of theology within the compre- 
hension of the common people, it may be said that 'Abduh 
and his school are also influenced by Al-Ghazzali. 3 

The second influence is that of Ibn Taimiyyah (d. a.d. 
1328) and Ibn al-Kayyim al-Jawziyyah (d. a.d. 1355), who 
conducted a bitter fight against the 'bid* ah' and corruption 
of their own day, claimed for themselves the right of indepen- 
dent investigation (ijtihad), and went back to first sources 
and principles in everything. They bitterly opposed the 
Sufis and condemned unsparingly the visitation of the tombs 
of prophets and saints. They were the revivers of the tradi- 
tion of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the strictest and most literally 
minded of the four great Imams of canon law, and their tradi- 
tion was, in turn, perpetuated by the Wahhabis, the sect of 
puritan reformers that came to political supremacy in Arabia 
in the early years of the nineteenth century, and whose wheel 
of political fortunes has again come full circle in the recent 
successes of Ibn Sa'ud. It will be apparent that the Egyptian 
reformers have derived inspiration for a number of their 
activities from these earlier reformers, and it is not entirely 
surprising that the editor of Al-Manar should have occa- 
sion to complain that, because of his opposition to certain 

1 Cf. above, pp. 168 sqq. a Cf. above, p. 116, also p. 191. 

8 Cf , Macdonald, Development of Muslim Theology, pp. 238, 239. 

204 Muhammad RasMd Ridd and Al-Manar 
prevailing practices, he is called 'either a Mu'tazilite or a 
Wahhabi'. 1 Both Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida de- 
rive the method of their 'fat was', or legal opinions, from the 
Flam al-muwakkVin of Ibn al-Kayyim, because he bases his 
authority upon the text of the Kur'an and the Sunnah ; 2 and 
Ibn Taimiyyah is depended upon, because 'he was one of the 
best informed of Muslim scholars, if not the best, on the 
sources whence " bid' ah " arose, and most able in showing that 
they are contrary to the true Islam'. 3 Copious extracts from 
the works of these two scholars are given in the pages of Ah 
Mandr, and new editions of their works have been printed, 
some of them by the press of Al-Manar and all doubtless 
under its auspices. It is of advantage to the reformers, it may 
be pointed out, to be able to parry the objections of their 
orthodox opponents by showing that, through their affinities 
with the two earlier reformers, and through them, with 
Hanbalite teaching, they are in direct line with the strictest 
school of Muslim interpretation. 

Of the influence of the demands of modern progress upon 
the character of the Abduh movement, it is unnecessary to 
speak at length. It is, in a sense, the raison d'etre for the 
existence of the movement, for it is only as Islam is reformed 
to agree with modern conditions, it is believed, that its true 
character as a world religion will be apparent. 

1 Al-Manar, i. 425. 2 Ibid., vi. 891. 3 Ibid., xxviii. 423, 424. 



THE term 'the "Manar " Party ' is here used as a designa- 
tion to include those who have been influenced by the 
teachings of Muhammad 'Abduh and have identified them- 
selves more or less openly with the movement which he 
inaugurated. Since Al-Mandr has been the organ through 
which his views have been given their largest publicity and 
has formed a rallying point for those whose sympathies have 
been enlisted in the cause of reform, the designation may be 
applied with some fitness. 1 The word ' party' , however, as 
applied to them should not be taken to indicate that his 
avowed followers have at any time constituted a considerable 
body, or that they have represented a well-defined organiza- 
tion or other such well-defined body. It is true that * Abduh's 
teachings have exerted a wide influence in Egypt and else- 
where in the Muslim world, and have won the approval of 
many individuals, especially among the educated classes; 
indications of this have received mention in an earlier 
section. Many individuals who have been animated by his 
principles, to a greater or lesser degree, have identified them- 
selves with literary, benevolent, religious, and even political 
organizations. Yet the fact remains, that those who have 
actively and openly joined in agitation for the reforms ad- 
vocated by Al-Mandr, the ' Moderate Party ' as Rashid Rida 
prefers to call them, have always been few in number ; they 
remain to this day, he says, in the minority, * a little group 
of the first reformers and a few of the later generation'. 2 

It is possible to collect from the Biography of Muhammad 
^Ab&uh or from the pages of Al-Mandr^ from references in 
various publications or from occasional articles in the press, 
the names of a considerable number of persons who were 
associated more or less closely with either Jamal al-Din al- 
Afghani or with Muhammad c Abduh. Of some of these it is 

1 The term is suggested by Goldziher, Koranavslegung, as on p. 326, and 
elsewhere. He also uses the expressions "Abduh Party', and "Abduh- 
Manar Party'. 2 Al-Mandr, xxix (1928), 66. 

206 The * Manar ' Party 

known only that they were pupils of one or the other of the two 
masters, some few having been pupils of both ; but of the part 
which they played in advancing the reform movement, his- 
tory is silent. Others are known to have been pupils or as- 
sociates for a time but seem to have been influenced slightly 
by the reform principles or to have been turned aside later 
by more potent interests. Still others have been sincerely 
animated by the reform principles ; many of these latter were 
men of prominence in public life, who supported the cause of 
reform when it was not always popular to do so. To compile 
a list of the names that are known, with the biographical 
facts that are available concerning the few, may present 
little of interest to those not familiar with Egyptian develop- 
ments during the last half century ; but it has this much of 
value, at l^ast, that it represents a fair cross-section of the 
educated classes as affected by the 'Abduh movement, and 
affords some indication of the extent to which the various 
classes have been influenced. For the individuals that may 
be named represent larger groups, the number of which it is 
impossible to conjecture. Moreover, it should not be for- 
gotten, all of these were of varying shades of thought and 
sympathies, as Al-Mawir points out; some of the party 
inclined towards the orthodox and Conservative side, some 
towards the Liberal, Europeanizing group. 1 It will be 
apparent, however, from the list of names which can be 
assembled, that the call of Muhammad 'Abduh received a 
response from many quarters and affected the life of the 
country in many directions. 

The Azhar Group. 

It is a fact to be noted, first of all, that the Azhar or 
' Shaikh ' class was not so much attracted by ' Abduh's prin- 
ciples as was the 'Effendi' or Europeanized section of the 
population. The greater number of his actual followers were 
drawn from the higher ranks of the legal profession, from 
teachers in the higher Government schools and from the 
heads of Government departments. 2 Some of these would be 
Azhar- trained but the majority belonged to the classes which 

1 Al-Manar, xi. 205. 3 Tarikh, i. 137, 757. 

The * Mandr ' Party 207 

had received some Western education. This may seem sur- 
prising at first, in view of the unsparing efforts which 'Abduh 
devoted to the reform of the Azhar and the teaching which he 
himself did and the lectures which he delivered within its 
precincts. It is less surprising when the essentially con- 
servative character of this class is recalled and the strong 
influence which the Azhar has always exerted in the direction 
of maintaining the traditions of the past unbroken. It is 
unnecessary to repeat here what has been said in an earlier 
section regarding the opposition which 'Abduh encountered 
on the part of this conservative element of the Azhar. Yet 
notwithstanding this general unyielding attitude, a consider- 
able number of the students were attracted to his lectures 
and not a few became his disciples . A few, like e Abduh himself, 
had been pupils of Jamal al-Din and continued to support 
the reform movement when ( Abduh became its leader. 

Prominent among the Azhar men who were close friends 
and associates of 'Abduh was Shaikh Ahmad Abu Khatwah 
(d. 1906). He was a judge in the Sharfah courts and a teacher 
in the Azhar and had been a pupil of Jamal al-Din. He 
supported 'Abduh in his reforms in the Azhar and in the 
courts. 1 He was also one of the representatives of the four 
schools of canon law who published a declaration in support 
of the best known of 'Abduh's 'fatwas' which called forth 
much opposition, the so-called * Transvaal Fatwa'. 2 

Shaikh *Abd al-Karim Salman and Shaikh Say y id Wafa, 
both of whom had been pupils of Jamal al-Din and afterwards 
became pupils of 'Abduh, were associated with the latter in 
the editorship of the Journal Officiel. 2 In the reckoning which 
followed the collapse of the 'Arab! movement, it seems that 
( Abd al-Karim, although he had been one of the closest 
friends of 'Abduh, sought to clear himself of the imputation 
of belonging to his party. 4 At another time he became the 

1 Al-Man&r, xi. 227; for his Memorial address, reviewing 'Abduh's work 
in the Azhar and in the courts, see Tarikh, iii. 250 sqq. ; i. 618, 619. 

2 Tarikh, i. 674. 3 ALManar, viii. 406. See above, p. 46. 

4 Tarikh, i. 278. See on pp. 276-80 a letter from Sa'ad ZaghlQl to ' Abduh 
who was then in exile in Bairut. The letter seeks to explain the expressions 
that had been used by 'Abd al-Karim and to minimize the unfavourable 
impression. He says that he is much in his company. He also refers to a 
certain Shaikh Muhammad Khalil as among 'Abduh's friends. Mr. Wilfred 

208 The 'Mandr* Party 

leader of a clique of 'Abduh's followers who intrigued to 
remove Muhammad Rashid Rida from the favoured position 
which he enjoyed as 'Abduh's chief disciple and closest 
associate. 1 Yet after each of these temporary lapses, he 
seems to have returned to his allegiance, for during the days 
of the Azhar reforms he rendered much support and en- 
couragement to 'Abduh. 

Shaikh Hassunah al-Nawawi (1840-1925) was another 
close friend and supporter. As Rector of the Azhar from 
1895 to 1899 and, for the last two years of this period, Grand 
Mufti also, he collaborated with 'Abduh in the introduction 
of such reforms as could be accomplished. 2 Shaikh Muham- 
mad Bakhit, a successor of 'Abduh in the office of Grand 
Mufti and at present one of the leading c Ulama of Egypt, 
was a fellow student with 'Abduh in the Azhar. They at- 
tended together the lectures of Shaikh Hasan al-Tawil and 
Jamal al-Din. 3 He seems, however, to have taken little part 
in reform activities, and, strictly speaking, should probably 
not be considered a member of the 'Abduh party. In 1926 
he published a book in reply to the work of f Ali 'Abd al- 
Razik on the Islamic Caliphate. Against the modernizing 
positions of this work he maintained the orthodox Muslim 
arguments on behalf of the Caliphate. 4 Another pupil of 
Jamal al-Din and 'Abduh, who later became Grand Mufti, is 
Shaikh 'Abd al-Rahman Kara'ah. 'Abduh once called him 
'the youngest of his brethren and the oldest of his sons'; 5 
but if he has identified himself with the cause of reform it 
has not been in any prominent way. Another who is com- 
monly recognized by the press of to-day as 'the oldest of the 
pupils of Muhammad 'Abduh' is Shaikh Muhammad 
Mustafa al-Maraghi, recently Rector of the Azhar (1928-30). 

Blunt mentions the same shaikh, who was his teacher of Arabic, as among 
' Abduh's pupils. Secret History of Egypt, p. 75. 

1 Tdrikh, i. 1017. 2 See above, pp. 72, 73, 78. 

3 Address at Memorial Gathering, July 11, 1922, at which he presided as 
Chairman of the Organizing Committee. Cf . Al-M anar> xxiii. 513 sqq., also 
Printed Report (Al-ihitifal bi-ihya dhikra al-ustadh al-imdm), p. 6. 

4 Hakikat al-Isldm wa usul al-hukm ('The Truth about Islam and the 
Fundamentals of Authority*), Salafiyyah Press, Cairo, 1344/1926, pp. 457 
On 'AH 'Abd al-Razik, see below, Chapter X. 

8 Report of Memorial Gathering, p. 42, 

The ' Manar ' Party 209 

Under his leadership an extensive reorganization of the Azhar 
was undertaken with a view to its greater adaptation to 
modern conditions in Egypt. A plan of reorganization was 
promulgated in 1930 in what is known as 'Law No. 49 '; l 
but because of the opposition which the proposed reforms 
encountered, Shaikh Mustafa resigned from the rectorship. 
In 1929, during his period in office, a proposal was made in 
the daily press, which at once met with general approval, 
that 'Abduh's house in ( Ain Shams be preserved as a per- 
manent memorial, or some other appropriate form of national 
recognition be provided; and it was generally agreed that 
Shaikh Mustafa al-Maraghi was the most suitable person to 
take the matter in hand, both because of his position and of 
his former relation to c Abduh. 2 Since his resignation from 
the rectorship of the Azhar, however, nothing further has 
been heard of the matter. Shaikh Mustafa was formerly 
Supreme Sharf ah Judge for the Sudan, having been ap- 
pointed to the office on the recommendation of 'Abduh. A 
number of others of 'Abduh's disciples have served in the 
Sudan as judges and as teachers in Gordon Memorial College. 3 
Shaikh Al-Sayyid 'Abd al-Rahim al-Damardash Pasha 
(1853-1930), hereditary head of the Damardashi Sufi order, 
was also a disciple and a member of the group that was most 
intimate with 'Abduh. 4 In politics, he was a member of the 
People's party (Hizb al-Ummah) 5 and served as a member 
of the Legislative Council and, later, of the revised Assembly. 
When he succeeded to the headship of the Damardashi Order 
in 1877, he introduced many changes for the better into the 
administration of the Order ; and he was one of the first in 
Egypt to advocate reforms in the administration of the 
Religious Endowments (Wakf) of the country. A short time 
before his death, he donated a large sum of money for the 
erection and endowment of a hospital, now known by his 
name, in Cairo ; and on the occasion of the * Abduh Memorial 
Gathering in 1922, he offered to endow a chair in the Egyptian 

1 Al-Hilal, November 1931, pp. 60 sqq. 

3 See Al-Ahram, January 12, 1929; Al-Siyasah, February 7, 8, 1929, &c. 
8 Tarikh, i. 876. 

* Ibid., p. 2 ; biographical account in Al-Ahrdm, February 6, 1930, for 
above items. 6 See below, p. 222. 

2 1 The ' Manar ' Party 

University in memory of Muhammad 'Abduh, although 
nothing has come of the proposal up to the present. 1 

Another name that belongs in the list of those who at- 
tended 'Abduh's lectures is that of Shaikh 'Abd al-'Aziz 
Shawish (d. 1929), 2 although his turbulent career of political 
agitation carried on the tradition of Jamal al-Din rather than 
that of 'Abduh. The name of Shaikh 'All Suriir Al-Zan- 
kaluni, one of the leading c Ulama of the Azhar to-day, should 
also be included among those who were friends of 'Abduh 
and associated with him to some extent. 3 

Professional and Literary Group. 

Among the group that identified themselves with 'Abduh 
were a number who had received a part or all of their training 
in the Azhar, but whose subsequent careers led them beyond 
the range of interests and activities common to the Azhar 
circle. One of these was Ibrahim Bey al-Lakani (d. 1906), 
a well-known lawyer and literary man, who was one of the 
leading spirits of the earlier revival that centred about Jamal 
and one of its ablest writers and orators. Of Jamal's pupils 
he ranked second only to Muhammad 'Abduh, according to 
the estimate of Rashid Rida, in correctness of style and pre- 
cision of phrase. Following the 'Arab! Rebellion, he was 
banished from Egypt under the same sentence as Muhammad 
' Abduh and went with him to Bairut, where he remained until 
permitted to return to Egypt. During his later years he was 
prevented by illness from taking an active part in affairs, and 
so did not reach the prominence which otherwise he might 
have attained. 4 Another is Ibrahim Bey al-Hilbawi, doyen 
of the legal profession to-day in Egypt and a distinguished 
orator. Because of the ability which he had shown as a pupil 
of Jamal, he was one of those chosen by r Abduh to assist 
him in the editorship of the Journal Officiel, of which Sa'ad 
Zaghlul, then also a young Azhar shaikh, was likewise an 
associate editor. Later he participated actively in the work 

1 Kashkul, March 15, 1929 ; the article recalls that shortly after the death 
of 'Abduh a committee of his friends undertook to prepare a memorial but 
nothing ever came of it. a Tarikh, i. 773 ; see above, p. 184. 

3 Report of Memorial Gathering, p. 39. 

4 Tarikh, i. 137, 234, &c; Al-Manar, xi. 227; xxviii. 710. 

The ' Mandr ' Party 2 1 1 

of the Muslim Benevolent Society. 1 He was a friend of 
Kasim Bey Amin and when the latter, through his books, 
became known as the champion of women's rights, al-Hilbawi 
was one of the few who espoused with him the unpopular 
cause ; and he has continued the fight until he has seen a great 
change in public opinion on this subject take place. 2 

A number of others of the earliest disciples may be con- 
veniently grouped as persons in Government office or posi- 
tions of public trust. Among these was Ibrahim Bey al- 
Muwailihi (1846-1906), who was a pupil of Jamal and aided 
him in the publication of Al-'Urwah al-Wuthkah. 3 He was 
also a friend of 'Abduh, but on at least one occasion, namely, 
in the matter of the 'Transvaal Fatwa', he wrote bitterly 
against him, having been one of the writers retained for this 
purpose by the Khedive 'Abbas II and his sympathizers of 
the orthodox party. 4 He was a member of a wealthy family, 
but lost his fortune through speculation. He came into favour 
with the Khedive Isma'Il Pasha, served in various capacities 
in the Government, and, when the Khedive was deposed, 
followed him to Italy as his private secretary. Later he spent 
some years in Constantinople where he enjoyed the favour 
of the Sultan. During all this time he contributed frequently 
to the newspapers and made frequent attempts to found 
newspapers of his own, with varying success. About 1868 he 
founded a society, called 'Al-Ma'arif ', to promote the cir- 
culation of works in classical Arabic, and founded also a 
printing press, under the same name, for the issue of such 
works. Among the works published was the Arabic dic- 
tionary, Taj al-'Arus. Among the students of Jamal, says 
Rashid Rida, he stood alone as newspaper contributor and 
as a master of invective. 5 His book, Ma Hundlik, which 
embodies the results of his observations during his sojourn in 
Constantinople, has been described as 'the best that has been 

1 Tdrikh, i. 138, 742, 748; Al-Mandr, xxviii. 710; see above, pp. 46, 83. 

3 Al-Hilal, November 1931. In this, the '40th Anniversary Number', 
prominent men review the developments of forty years in Egypt, from the 
viewpoints with which their names have become particularly associated. 
Al-Hilbawi writes on * Woman'. 

3 Sarkis, Al-Matbu*dt, cols. 1819-20; a fuller biographical account is 
found in Maskahir, ii, 101-5. 

4 Tdrikh, i. 668. 5 Al-Mandr, xxviii. 710. 

2 1 2 The * Mandr ' Party 

written on the secrets of Yildiz during the regime of 'Abd 
al-Hamid'. 1 

To this group belongs also Hasan Pasha ( Asim, who served 
as Grand Chamberlain to the Khedive 'Abbas II and later as 
Chief of the Khedivial Cabinet. 3 He was one of the closest 
friends and supporters of 'Abduh, aiding him effectively in 
the Muslim Benevolent Society, of which he was one of the 
organizers and most active officials, and in his efforts for a 
literary revival, and working with him for the reform of the 
Sharfah Court. 3 His death followed soon after that of 
e Abduh. 

Hifm Bey Nasif (1856-1919) was also a prominent member 
of the group, having studied with both Jamal and 'Abduh. 4 
In speaking of the effect of these lectures upon himself and 
others of the group of students, he said: 'We felt in our souls 
that any one of us was capable of reforming a province or a 
kingdom.' 5 He was secretary of the delegation of Egyptian 
scholars who attended tl^e Oriental Congress in Vienna in 
1886, and presented a paper before the Congress. He served 
in a number of important positions, among them Chief 
Inspector in the Ministry of Education and Judge in the 
Native Tribunals. He was also teacher of Rhetoric in the 
School of Law, and lecturer in Arabic Literature in the newly 
founded Egyptian University (1909-10). He was the author 
of a number of books on grammar, rhetoric, and composition 
which have been used as text-books in the Egyptian schools. 
His lectures in the Egyptian University on 'The History of 
Arabic Literature' have also been published. 6 He was thus 
one of the forerunners of the modern literary revival. It is 
interesting to note that the Egyptian poetess and advocate 
of women's rights who wrote under the pen name of ' Bahithat 
al-Badiyah' was his daughter. 7 

1 Sarkis, op. cit. 

2 Tarikh, i. 497, 602. From the latter position he was retired on pension 
in 1904 by the Khedive because of his support of 'Abduh in a matter of 
administration of the Wakfs in which the Khedive was personally in^ 
terested. 3 Al-Manar, xi. 227 ; see above, pp. 83 sqq. 

4 Tarikh, i. 135, 137. 6 Al-Manar, xxviii. 709, 710. 

6 Mu'jam al-Matbu^dt al-' Arabiyyah wa al-Mu K arrahah {'Biog. Diet, of 
Arabic and Translated Works — up to 1919'), by Yiisuf Iliyan Sarkis, cols. 
782, 783. 7 See below, p. 235. 

The ' Mandr ' Party 2 1 3 

Ahmad Fathi Zaghlul Pasha (1863-1914) was another of 
the early pupils of 'Abduh and one of the inner circle of his 
disciples, 1 who contributed to the literary revival, besides 
participating in various reform activities. He was a member 
of the first Educational Mission sent by the Department of 
Education to Europe, where he studied law. After his return, 
he rose in his profession to become President of the Native 
Tribunals and finally Assistant Minister of Justice. The in- 
fluence which he exerted through his writings was con- 
siderable, particularly through his numerous translations 
from European languages into Arabic. His original works 
consist of treatises on law and a collection of articles on 
questions of the day which first appeared in the daily press. 2 
Among his translations from English were The Secret of the 
Advancement of the Anglo-Saxons* and Bentham's Principles 
of Legislation. His translations from French include works 
by Count di Castri, Desmoulins, and le Bon. 4 The works 
translated were those which, in the opinion of the translator, 
were capable of application to conditions in Egypt or were 
needed as an incentive to reform ; and an introduction to each 
translation pointed the application. Thus in his introduction 
to di Castries work, translated under the title Al-Islam, 
khawatir wa sawdnih ('Islam: Ideas and Impressions') he 
contrasts the former glory of Islam with its present decadent 
state and, by way of emphasizing the responsibility of 
Muslims themselves for this state, quotes the opinion of 
Al-Manar, the first number of which had appeared shortly 
before this time. In the opinion of Rashid Rida, the editor 
of Al-Mandr } it was this public approval from the pen of 
Fathi Pasha which secured a favourable reception for his 
journal, particularly among members of the legal profession, 
such as otherwise it might not have had. 5 

1 Tarikh, i. 775, 996; Al-Mandr, xi. 528 sqq., esp. 532. 

2 Published under the title Al dthar al-Fathiyyah. Cf. Sarkls, Mu'jam 
al-Mapbu^dt, cols. 1435-7. 

3 Al-Manar, ii. 465. 

4 Sarkls, 1435-7; ALManar, ii. 465; cf. Gibb, BSOS, vol. iv, part iv, 
p. 759. Of his influence Gibb remarks : 'Of the many translators of this period, 
the one whose work was most effective in opening up new vistas to the 
Arabic world was Fathi Pasha Zaghlul.' 

6 Tarikh, i. 1006. 

214 The * Mandr ' Party 

There are a number of other men, prominent in 'Abduh's 
time or who later became prominent, whose names should be 
included in any account of his pupils that is to be thought of 
as even comparatively complete, although these names do 
not, of course, exhaust the list. The following names are 
given, in spite of the fact that little information is available 
concerning their contribution to the movement as a whole. 
( AH Bey Fakhri (d. 1906) worked for the improvement of the 
judges and courts of the Native Tribunals ; x Muhammad Bey 
Rasim, was the close friend at whose house in Alexandria, 
Muhammad *Abduh died; 2 Hamudah Bey 'Abduh was the 
brother of Muhammad 'Abduh, who studied under him 
during the sojourn in Bairut; 3 Mahmud Bey Salim was 
President of the 'Society of Propaganda and Guidance'; 4 
Muhammad Pasha Salih attended 'Abduh's lectures in the 
Azhar and Dar al-'Ulum; 5 Isma'Il Pasha Sabri, Rafik Bey 
al-'Izam, Shaikh Ahmad Ibrahim, Shaikh Hasan Mansur, 
attended his special lectures on problems of philosophy, and 
the two last-named attended also his lectures in Dar al- 
*Ulum. 6 The Lebanon prince, the Amir Shaklb Arslan, who 
is a frequent contributor to the press on topics connected 
with questions of general Islamic welfare, was a pupil during 
'Abduh's stay in Bairut and has been a life-long disciple ; 7 
and the well-known Egyptian scholar and man of letters, 
Ahmad Pasha Taimur, was, as a young man, first an in- 
terested pupil and then an enthusiastic disciple. He attended 
'Abduh's lectures when the latter was teaching in Dar al- 
f Ulum and was so attracted that he took advantage also of 
all of r Abduh's classes in the Azhar, profiting particularly by 

1 Al-Manar, xi. 227. 2 See above, p. 91. 3 See above, p. 64. 

4 Koranauslegung, p. 343; Al-Manar, xiv. 116, 117; see xiv. 517 sqq. 
for art. by Mahmud Salim on 'I£ur'an Interpretation and the Modern 
Sciences'. See above, p. 195. 6 Tarikh, i. 756, 778. 

6 Ibid., p. 775; for names of a number of pupils in Dar al-*Ulum, see 
ibid., p. 773. 

7 In Tarikh, i. 399-412, is an account by himself of his relations with 
'Abduh. He mentions the fact that his first-published collection of poems 
entitled Al-Bakurah, was, at 'Abduh's suggestion, dedicated to 'Abdallah 
Pasha Fikrl (1834-90), Egyptian Minister of Education and friend of 
' Abduh. See also in Kawkab al-Shark, February 19, 1932, in his review of 
Tartkh, i, a reference to his book Hddir al- K Alam al-Islami, in which he 
gives an account of Jamal al-Din. 

The ' Manar ' Party 2 1 5 

his lectures on rhetoric, based on the two books of Al- 
Jurjani } and he attended also the private lectures on philo- 
sophy. He became so attached to 'Abduh and so captivated 
by his teaching that he purchased a house at *Ain Shams, 
next door to that of 'Abduh, that he might live near him and 
thus have greater opportunity to profit by his companion- 
ship. 2 

Another well-known figure in the Egyptian world of letters, 
one of the leaders in the modern literary revival, who, as a 
student in the Azhar passed through 'Abduh's classes in 
rhetoric and was greatly influenced by his principles was al- 
Sayyid Mustafa Lutfi al-Manfaluti (1876-1924). 3 Dis- 
tinguished both as poet and essayist, he is one of the most 
widely read of modern Egyptian writers, the collection of his 
essays entitled Al-Nazardt being especially well known, and 
he has exerted a formative influence upon the modern type 
of Egyptian literature. The results of his contact with * Abduh 
are seen in his attacks upon abuses which have crept into 
Islam and demands for reform, in the spirit of much that is 
to be found in the pages of the 'Abduh literature ; and he has 
given expression, in both prose and verse, to his love and 
respect for his master. 4 On the other hand, his conservative 
tendencies appear in his attack on Kasim Amln's Emancipa- 
tion of Woman, 5 and in his criticism of modern methods of 
Kur'an interpretation, even when they were employed by no 
less a person than 'Abduh. 6 

Muhammad Hafiz Bey Ibrahim (1873-1932), commonly 
known as the 'Poet of the Nile ', and also as the 'Social Poet ' 
because of the attention which social problems receive in his 
works and particularly for the sympathy which he has shown 
for the poor and down-trodden, was likewise a pupil of 'Abduh 
and an intimate disciple. 7 Born of poor parents in Cairo and 

1 Tdrikh, i. 757, 774. See above, p. 85. 2 Ibid., p. 774. 

8 Ibid., p. 757. Others who are mentioned as pupils of 'Abduh in this 
subject are *Abd al -Rahman al-Barkuki, Mustafa * Abd al-Razik, 'All *Abd 
al-Razik, Taha al-Bishri, 'Abd al-'Aziz al-Bishri. 

4 Cf. ode on ' Abduh's return from Constantinople in 1901, Tarikh, i. 863. 
Cf. also Al-Nazardt, iii. 68. 6 Al-Nazardt, i. 212; ii. 62 sqq. 

* Ibid., i. 213. For account of works, cf, Sarkis, Mapbu'dt, cols. 1806-6; 
for critical estimate, cf. Gibb, BSOS, vol. v, part ii, pp. 316 sqq. 

7 Tdrikh, i. 775, 1042. 

2 1 6 The ' Mandr ' Party 

reared in indigent circumstances, he knew by experience those 
conditions which he pictures in sympathetic terms in his 
writings. After passing through the primary schools, he was 
received as a student in the War College. On the completion 
of his period of training, he was appointed as an officer in 
the Egyptian forces in the Sudan, where he served for a 
number of years. Returning to Egypt, he left the army and 
attached himself to 'Abduh, with whom he had come into 
contact through the medium of a congratulatory poem which 
he had dedicated to him on the occasion of the latter's 
appointment as Mufti (1899 J. 1 He thereafter accompanied 
'Abduh on a number of his journeys to the provinces for 
philanthropic or reform purposes, 2 and became so intimate 
a follower that the envy of others was aroused ; 3 in his own 
words: *I have been one of the most devoted of his pupils, 
hovering about his house and hanging on to his words'. 4 It 
was during this period that some of his sincerest and best 
poetry was written. 5 In 1911 he was appointed a librarian in 
the Egyptian Royal Library, from which he was retired on 
pension in the early part of 1932. 

It is in his book, Layali Satih, that his reform opinions are 
most clearly stated. The book, written for the most part in 
prose, with occasional bits of verse, purports to be conversa- 
tions which the writer and various other 'sons of the Nile', 
students, &c, hold with one another and with 'Satih', a sort 
of shadowy hermit philosopher who is only heard giving his 
opinions but is never seen in person. The talk turns on the 
condition of Egyptian society which is freely criticized. Thus, 
the happiest persons in Egypt are, ironically, said to be the 
'shaikhs 5 of the Sufi orders, who are respected and obeyed in 
exaggerated form while living, and, when they are dead, 
some one builds.a tomb over them and 'then the people seek 

1 Tarlkh, i. 604. 2 Ibid., pp. 807, 1042. 

8 Ibid., pp. 957, 1017. 

4 Layali Satih, p. 120 (Press of Mahummad Matar, Cairo, no date); 
Sarkis, Matbu % at t col. 736, gives date of publication of the book as 

6 Cf . biographical account and review of his poetry in Al-Siyasah, March 
19, 20, 1929, by 'Isa Mahmud Nasir. For ode recited at memorial service 
after death of ' Abduh, cf . Tdrikh, Hi. 236, 237. For ode recited at Memorial 
Gathering, 1922, cf. Printed Report, pp. 33-5, also Al-Manar, xxiii. 513 sqq. 

The ' Manar' Party 217 

blessing by means of their wasting bones ' (p. 24). The extent 
to which the Egyptian ideal of education centres about 
service in the Government is criticized in these words : * The 
Egyptian worships Government service and devotes his at- 
tention to it and his education is founded on it. If he fails to 
secure service in the Government he loses all hope and his 
energy in work and effort declines, and he never ceases for 
the rest of his life to look forward to entering it/ The advice, 
therefore, is to cease competing for these offices and turn to 
other lines of work, 'that necessity may create a new feeling 
and that the new generation may be sensible that they are 
being educated for themselves and their country and not for 
Government service ' (p. 17). It is for this reason, particularly, 
namely, that a new type of education may be fostered, that 
a national university is needed; the pupils of 'Abduh are, 
therefore, blameworthy 'because they know that this nation 
cannot have a real life without a university', and yet they 
are not persevering in their efforts to secure it (pp. 124-6). 
The newspapers are criticized for the ' anarchy ' which prevails 
among them in the name of 'liberty', for their failure to 
utilize their opportunity to educate and uplift the people and 
for their high-flown language (pp. 34-8). It was through the 
influence of Jamal and his pupils that 'taklid' was brought to 
an end and ' God through them revived the Arabic language 
and brought to life the bones of composition \ For, previously, 
'every one had been paying religious homage to the linguistic 
form but regarded the meaning with infidel unconcern ' ; but 
through the 'light of guidance ' which dawned with the com- 
ing of Jamal they were delivered from the ' darkness of the 
Middle Ages' (p. 52). Jamal left the world as Socrates did, 
without leaving any books behind him, and had it not been 
for Muhammad 'Abduh, he would not have become known, 
just as Socrates would have remained unknown without 
Plato (p. 53). The secret of the advancement of western 
nations is to be found in the ease with which writers are able 
to impart their influence to the common people, because they 
write in the language which is also spoken; and thus the 
meaning, even of poetry, comes home to them and the very 
spirit of the writer becomes a part of them, even though they 

2 1 8 The ' Mandr ' Party 

be unaware of it. The case is very different in Egypt, how- 
ever, where the spoken language differs from the written, and 
the weakness of the one imparts itself to the other (pp. 
56 sqq.). Thus various aspects of Egyptian life are reviewed 
and their defects laid bare. 

Hafiz tried his hand also at translation. He attempted a 
versification of parts of Macbeth in Arabic, with indifferent 
success. He was greatly attracted by Victor Hugo's Les 
Miserables and translated it into Arabic, 1 and translated also 
other French works. He wrote much poetry on political 
subjects, although he himself took no part in politics ; he is 
said to have written something about every important event 
of contemporary Egyptian history. 2 In one of his poems he 
expresses impatience with the conditions imposed upon the 
poet by the classical form of the ode, referring to them as 
'bonds with which the advocates of the impossible have 
bound us 5 . 'Let us cast off from us these muzzles,' he con- 
tinues, 'and let us inhale the breezes of the North', i.e. 
Europe. Nevertheless, so far as the evidence of his own 
poetry goes, he was unable to achieve any decided revolt 
against traditional forms, however willing his modernizing 
spirit may have been; 3 yet he represents the new attitude 
toward letters as well as toward the religious and social 
aspects of Egyptian life. 

The above-named individuals indicate, vaguely in some 
cases, more clearly in others, that the ferment of reform 
generated by 'Abduh's influence was at work in various 
directions. Most noticeable, perhaps, is the stimulus which 
it created in the direction of writing and oratory. The modern 
literary revival, it is true, did not reach full development 
until after the Great War ; yet the ( Abduh movement greatly 
accelerated the development of factors already at work and 
contributed powerfully to the revival, not simply by pro- 
viding from its own ranks writers and scholars of ability, but 
more especially, by creating a congenial atmosphere in which 
a new era of writing could develop. By his efforts to free the 
mind of Egypt from the fetters of tradition and to reconcile 

1 See above, p. 86. 

2 Art. Al-Siyasah, March 19, 1929. 8 Ibid. 

The * Mandr ' Party 219 

the religion and culture of Islam with the attainments of 
modern civilization, 'Abduh made it possible for the Arabic 
literature of to-day to become modernized without breaking 
entirely with its Islamic past, and in so doing he has placed 
the present generation of Muslim writers deeply in his debt. 
It is worthy of remark, also, that with the passing of time, 
the cause of religious reform, which was most fundamental 
with 'Abduh, has been overshadowed by developments in 
certain other directions. It is now necessary to turn to the 
consideration of some of the most marked developments and 
the individuals most prominently associated with them. 

Political Development. 

It will be recalled that political revolution was one of the 
main tenets of Jamal al-Din's teaching, and that he approved 
of the method of political assassinations, if necessary for the 
accomplishment of his objectives. He and his party, among 
them Muhammad 'Abduh, planned for the assassination of 
the Khedive Isma/fl Pasha, and even after they had desisted 
from that plan, worked for his deposition. 1 They believed 
that their hopes for a representative assembly, and other 
reforms which would result from it, could only be secured 
through the accession of Tawfik Pasha. Muhammad f Abduh, 
in his History of the 'Ardbl Rebellion, says Al-Manar, tells of 
how a deputation, among whom was Jamal, waited upon the 
French Commissioner and set forth the aims of the party of 
reform, 'including the connexion of these aims with the acces- 
sion of Tawfik Pasha. Word of what had passed got abroad, 
it was taken up by the newspapers, and the name ' Nationalist 
party ' (Al-hizb al-watanl) was then, for the first time, applied 
to a party in Egypt, namely, to the party of Jamal. 2 Muham- 
mad 'Abduh, although less extreme in his views than Jamal, 
accommodated himself to the more ardent nature of his 
master, both during his days in Egypt and the later period 
of secret agitation. But as a result of his experiences during 
this time, he came to entertain an extreme distrust of par- 
ticipation in politics. At the same time, says Rashid Ricla, 

1 Al-Mandr, xi (1908-9), 98. Cf., also, biography of Jamal, above. 
a Ibid., p. 199. 

220 The 'Mandr' Party 

his training of his pupils included something of politics, be- 
cause he believed that a man could not be perfect without 
some knowledge of a matter with which the independence 
and freedom of his country was so closely connected ; and he 
inculcated a love of country, and taught the necessity of 
securing a united public opinion concerning matters that are 
of advantage to the country, while, at the same time, religion 
is given its due place. 1 The influence of these two men, the 
one extreme, the other mooter ate, ca^n be seeCnvthe succeed- 
ing political history of Egypt. 

During the closing years of the nineteenth century and the 
opening years of the twentieth, there was a recrudescence in 
Egypt of Nationalist feeling which had been effectively sup- 
pressed, for the time being, by the failure of the. Nationalist 
movement led by 'Arab! Pasha. This new phase in the 
development of Egyptian nationalism has not inaptly been 
called the ' journalistic phase ', 2 inasmuch as nationalist senti- 
ment found chief expression during this period in violent 
anti-British agitation and vituperative leading articles in the 
French and Arabic journals. Extremist opinion was led and 
ardently fostered by the young leader of the revived 
Nationalist Party, Mustafa Kamil Pasha (1874-1908). His 
immediate hopes for Egyptian independence were built upon 
intervention on the part of some European country, especially 
France, to bring about the termination of the British Occupa- 
tion of Egypt. To this end he was tireless in his visits to the 
capitals of Europe and in his secret agitation. In all of these 
efforts he was supported by the Khedive * Abbas II and by 
the Khedive's money. 3 When he found that he could not de- 
pend upon European intervention, he turned towards Turkey, 
hoping much from the aggrandizement of the Ottoman 
Caliphate and the strengthening of Pan-Islamic connexions. 
But Turkey also failed him. In the meantime (January 2, 
1900), he had founded the newspaper Al-Liwa, through the 
medium of which, together with that of hjs oratory, he en- 
deavoured to arouse public sentiment against the English 

1 Al-Manar, xxviii. 588. 

8 Egypt, George Young, New York, 1927, pp. 179, 180. 

3 Tdrikh, i. 593. 

The 'Manar' Party 221 

and in favour of independence. In this endeavour he was 
eminently successful, thanks to his ardent enthusiasm, his 
fervid style and his dramatic appeals to the emotions. 

His intense Anglophobe sentiments were partly due to 
French training and French influence, particularly to his 
association with Deloncle, who spent some months during the 
the year 1895 in Egypt, Madame Juliet Adam, and others. 1 
But there was also a link with the influence of Jamal al-Dln, 
aside from the fact that the Nationalist Party, which he 
founded in 1908, considered itself the direct successor and 
heir of the old Nationalist Party of Jamal, which accounts in 
part for his fiery nationalism. This contact with Jamal did 
not come about through 'Abduh, as might have been ex- 
pected; for, in spite of friendly intercourse and overtures 
from Mustafa with a view to his joining 'Abduh in work for 
Egypt and Islam, no alliance resulted, because of the lack of 
congeniality of aim and method between the two. And the 
men of 'Abduh's party, on their part, were suspicious of the 
sincerity of Mustafa's motives, since they considered that he 
had been bought over by the Khedive. 2 The link with Jamal 
was supplied through another who had been a friend and 
pupil of Jamal, al-Sayyid 'Abd Allah al-Nadim (1845-96). 

'Abd Allah al-Nadim was that one of Jamil's pupils, ac- 
cording to Rashid Rida, who excelled in incendiary oratory, 
which he practised with much success during the 'Arab! 
Rebellion. 'Such speeches', says the authority referred to, 
' were suited to no one else as to him, and he was suited for 
nothing else as for that ; for he was a wheedler, and given to 
exaggeration — and nothing excites the crowd like exaggera- 
tion.' 3 He escaped apprehension, however, with the other 
leaders of the Rebellion and succeeded in eluding capture until 
1891, although a reward had been offered for information 
concerning him. In the latter year he was captured, but was 
pardoned on condition that he would leave Egypt. He went, 
therefore, to Jaffa in Palestine where he remained about a 

1 For biographical details, cf . Maskahir, i. 289-301 ; Haikal, Tarajim 
Misriyyah wa Gharbiyyah, Cairo, 1929, pp. 140-62; for connexion with the 
French, see also Truth about ISgypt, pp. 28 sqq. ; Young, Egypt, p. 181 ; for 
connexion with the Khedive and Muhammad 'Abduh, Tdrifch, i. 593. 

2 Tarlkh, \. 593. 3 Al-Manar, xxviii. 710. 

222 The ' Mandr' Party 

year, returning to Egypt when 'Abbas II became Khedive. 
He then founded a periodical which he named Al-ustadh (' The 
Instructor'), which was somewhat on the order of AWrwah 
al-Wuthkah, to quote again the opinion of Rashid Rida. This 
venture lasted less than a year, for he was again compelled 
to leave the country and go to Jaffa, on the two charges of 
arousing the spirit of religious bigotry and teaching revolu- 
tionary ideas. 1 A few months later he went to Constantinople, 
where he was given the position of inspector of publications 
by the Ottoman Government, and where he renewed his 
intimacy with Jamal al-Din. He died there October 11, 1896. 
He was the author of a considerable amount of poetry, of 
many political writings, and as many as twenty -one books on 
various subjects. 2 

It was after his first return from Jaffa in 1892 that he heard 
of Mustafa Kamil who was then, as a student, beginning his 
articles in the press and his agitation among the students. 
Al-Nadim sought out the young Nationalist and instructed 
him concerning the events through which he himself had 
passed and inspired him, no doubt, with his own incendiary 
ideas. As a result, says Zaidan in his account of Mustafa 
Kamil, the latter * acquired some of the characteristics' of 
Al-Nadim. It was from him that he received the idea of an 
alliance with the Khedive in order to forward the cause of 
Egyptian independence, the first result of which was the 
inauguration of the annual celebration of the Khedive's acces- 
sion on January 8, 1893. 3 

Opposed to the Nationalist party, with its extremist de- 
mands, there grew up a number of other parties more or less 
moderate in their principles. Among the more moderate ones 
was the party to which many of the followers of Muhammad 
'Abduh belonged, the 'People's Party' (Hizb al-wmmah). 
Lord Cromer, in his Annual Report for 1906, refers to them 
as 'a small but increasing number of Egyptians of whom 
comparatively little is heard', who deserve the title of 
'Nationalist' quite as much as the party who claimed it for 

1 Al-Manar, ii. 339, 340. 

3 Mashahir, ii. 94-100, from which the above details concerning his life 
are taken. Cf. Gibb, BSOS, vol. iv, part iv, p. 755. 
3 Mashahlr, i. 289-301. 

The ' Manar' Party 223 

themselves. They wished to advance the interests of their 
countrymen and co-religionists but were not tainted with 
Pan-Islamism, and they were willing to co-operate with 
Europeans in introducing Western civilization into Egypt. 
'The main hope of Egyptian Nationalism, in the only true 
and practicable sense of the word, lies, in my opinion, with 
those who belong to this party.' 1 When the People's Party 
entered the field during the year 1907, it was the first of the 
political parties to have a regular organization and to propose 
a detailed programme covering the political, social, and 
economic needs of the country. Its example in this respect 
has been followed by other parties. 2 Its original programme 
contained many of the tenets which had been advocated by 
Muhammad ' Abduh. It advocated, among other things, the 
extension of free and compulsory elementary education, the 
promotion of higher education, and the gradual extension of 
the principle of representative government by means of 
councils, from the General Council, down through Provincial 
and local councils. 3 The ranks of the party contained many of 
the better educated and more thoughtful men of the country, 
including officials and members of the Legislative Council and 
the Assembly. 4 

The leader of the party at the time of organization was 
Hasan 'Abd al-Razik Pasha, who had been one of the leading 
members of the Legislative Council during the years that 
Muhammad 'Abduh had also been a member, and he had 
been throughout a close friend and supporter of the latter. 5 
Unfortunately for the party, his death occurred during the 
latter part of the year 1907. He was succeeded in the leader- 
ship of the party by Mahmud Pasha Sulaiman (d. 1929), 6 and 
later by Ahmad Lutfi Bey al-Sayyid, the editor of Al-Jaridah, 
the organ of the party. With the departure of Lord Cromer 

1 From the Report, quoted at length in The Truth about Egypt, p. 81. 

2 Haikal, Tarajim, p. 201. 

3 The Truth about Egypt, pp. 129 sqq., 137 sqq. ; Egypt, p. 180. 

4 Tarlkh, i. 591. 

8 He was one of the speakers at the memorial service at the time of 
'Abduh's death, giving an account of his work in the Assembly and in 
the courts. 

6 Tarajim, pp. 201-3. Later Mahmud Pasha became an adherent of the 
Wafd party and still later of the Liberal Constitutionals. 

224 The 'Mandr' Party 

from Egypt, and the death of some of the leading members, 
the policy of the party changed from support of the Occupa- 
tion and co-operation with British officials to denunciations 
almost as bitter as those of the Nationalists. This change of 
front led to dissensions within the ranks of the party and 
many secessions. 1 

Something further should be said of the newspaper Al- 
Jaridah, which served as the mouthpiece of the People's 
Party from 1907, when both party and paper were founded, 
until 1914, when publication was discontinued. The founder 
and editor was Ahmad Lutfi Bey al-Sayyid, later Minister of 
Education and after wardsDirector of the reorganizedEgyptian 
University. Under his direction the paper was made the 
exponent of the progressive reform ideas which were held by 
the 'Abduh circle and soon became one of the leading news- 
papers of the country. The political aims of the group who 
gathered about Lutfi Bey have been stated as follows by 
Dr. Muhammad Husain Haikal, now editor of Al-Siyasdh, 
then, as a young law-student, a member of the group: 'The 
Egyptians had witnessed the failure of the previous policy 
which they had followed, namely, that of dependence on 
France, then on Europe, then on the Sublime Porte. Then 
a group of them came to believe that it was necessary to 
adopt another policy, namely, that of preparing the nation 
for independence through such means as education and 
character building and the implanting of belief in herself, not 
out of mere hatred of the English nor out of love for the 
Sublime Porte and the exalted position of the Caliphate, but 
rather out of love for independence and freedom for their own 
sakes. And Lutfi Bey al-Sayyid, former Minister of Education, 
was the mouthpiece of those who thought in this way.' 2 They 
sought likewise, in the spirit of Muhammad e Abduh, to adapt 
the principles of Western civilization and science to the social 
and religious life of the country, and also in the literary field, 
while at the same time preserving a genuine Islamic character 
to the whole structure. Thus, Lutfi Bey himself, with all his 
independence of thought and progressive ideas, retained a 
moderately conservative attitude on matters affecting the 

1 The Truth about Egypt, pp. 138, 248. 2 Tarajim, pp. 159, 160. 

The 'Mandr' Party 225 

Islamic religion. When he commends 'Bahithat al-Badiyah', 
in his foreword to her Nisa'iyyat, because in her advocacy of 
reform she has followed a moderate course, within the limits 
of the Islamic religion and the Sharf ah, 1 he is evidently 
commending the policy which he himself approves, and which 
was, in general, that of the 'Abduh party. It is significant 
also, as an indication of the ideals and activities of the group, 
that it was through the efforts of Sa'ad Zaghlul, Kasim 
Amm, Hifni Nasif, Lutfi al-Sayyid, and other followers of 
( Abduh, that the project of a national Egyptian University 
was brought to realization by the founding of the University 
in 1908. The idea of such a university seems to have been 
suggested by Mustafa Kamil; but it was abandoned in 1905, 
because of Lord Cromer's disapproval. It is characteristic of 
Mustafa, says Dr. Haikal, that when word reached him in 
Europe that Sa'ad Zaghlul and Kasim Amm had announced 
the formation of a committee to plan for a university, he 
should write saying that the idea had been his and therefore 
it must be carried out under his auspices. 2 When the univer- 
sity was reorganized in 1925, after a period of varying 
fortunes, Lutfi al-Sayyid was made Director. 3 

Opposed to the policy of Al-Jandah, were the two other 
leading Islamic newspapers, Al-Liwa of Mustafa Kamil, and 
Al-Mu'ayyad, edited by Shaikh r Ali Yusuf, the latter re- 
presenting conservative Muslim opinion. Mustafa Kamil, 
with all his admiration for Western civilization, which he 
acknowledges again and again in his writings, was yet, in his 
ideas regarding social reform, not only conservative but 
reactionary. 4 Shaikh e Ali Yusuf (1863-1913), with much 
editorial ability, combined with astute and, at times, not too 
scrupulous management, had won for Al-Mu'ayyad, the 
position of leading newspaper in the Arabic -speaking world. 5 
When the Khedive 'Abbas II took the paper under his 

1 Al-Nisa'iyydt: collection of articles published in Al-Jandah, on the 
subject, 'The Egyptian Woman'. 'Al-Jaridah' Press, Cairo, 1328/1910, 
p. v. 2 Tarajim, p. 160. 

3 Cf. Egypt, p. 182; The Truth about Egypt, pp. 203 sqq. ; Moslem World, 
vol. xvi (1926), 282. 4 Tarajim, p. 153. 

6 It became known as 'The Times of the East'. Cf. New Mu'ayyad, 
August 29, 1930, art. by Ahmad Lutfi al-Sayyid. 

226 The 'Mandr' Party 

patronage, Shaikh c Ali became a frequent companion of the 
Khedive in his travels and was more loyal to him than was 
Mustafa Kamil. 1 Shaikh 'All directed the appeal of Al~ 
Mu'ayyad largely to conservative, orthodox opinion and, in 
the view of his opponents at least, he was not above stirring 
up religious bigotry. Yet he was a great friend of Muhammad 
'Abduh's and Rashid Rida; he accompanied 'Abduh to Con- 
stantinople in 1901 on a mission of unknown import, 2 opened 
the columns of Ah Mu'ayyad to 'Abduh's reply to M. 
Hanotaux, 3 kept him acquainted with the intrigues of the 
Khedive's entourage, and used his good offices on more than 
one occasion in an attempt to effect a reconciliation between 
( Abduh and the Khedive. 4 

No attempt need be made in this place to follow the varying 
fortunes, and the changes, often confusing, in membership 
and policy, which have characterized the history of political 
parties in Egypt since the beginning of the present century. 
What has already been said may serve to indicate points of 
connexion in this history with the 'Abduh movement. The 
member of 'Abduh's party, however, who attained the 
greatest distinction in modern Egyptian political life was 
Sa'ad Pasha Zaghhll, who, in the years following the World 
War, gained an international reputation as the spokesman 
for Egyptian political aspirations. It is no part of the present 
purpose to give in detail the life -history of this remarkable 
leader, except so much as is necessary to make clear his 
connexion with Muhammad 'Abduh. 

Sa'ad was born in 1859, and was thus about ten years 
younger than ( Abduh. Just when he entered the Azhar 
University is not clear, whether before 'Abduh had com- 
pleted his studies and while he was giving informal lectures 
to those of the students who desired his help, or after he had 
become a lecturer in the institution; but it appears that, 
from the time of his entrance, he became one of 'Abduh's 
pupils. 5 With others of the latter's pupils he attended Jamal's 

1 Cf. Tarikh, i. 594. 2 Ibid., p. 848, 

3 Cf . above, pp. 86 sqq. 

4 Tdrtkh, i. 594. For general review of his policy with reference to ' Abduh, 
cf. Al-Manar, xvi. 873-8, 947-56; cf. also Al-Hilal, xxii. 148-51. 

5 Al-Mandr, xxviii. 584 sqq. In three articles the relations between 

The 'Mandr* Party 227 

lectures. As he was only a beginner, he was not prepared to 
profit to a great extent from the lectures on advanced texts 
in philosophy and theology which Jamal was then giving. 
Moreover, it would seem that his attendance could not have 
extended over a very long period before Jamal was compelled, 
in 1879, to leave Egypt. Yet he profited in other respects 
from his contact with him ; in particular, his later success as 
a political orator is attributed to the training which he 
received from him. 1 

Sa'ad's relation to Muhammad 'Abduh is represented as 
being, from the first, very intimate in character. He was not 
only a pupil as many others were, he was a 'disciple ' (murid), 
like the initiate of the Sufi orders who submits himself un- 
questioningly to the direction of his superior. ' Abduh treated 
him like a son and devoted an amount of time and attention 
to his training in religious, literary, and political matters that 
he gave to none of his other pupils. When he became editor- 
in-chief of the Journal Officiel he chose Sa'ad as one of his 
assistants, in spite of his youth. The value of the practical 
training thus afforded, in dealing with the social, political, 
and economic questions that were disturbing the country 
previous to and during the days of the 'Arab! uprising, in 
familiarity with all the affairs of the Government, and in 
actual practice in literary expression, under the tutelage of so 
able a teacher and leader as Muhammad 'Abduh, can scarcely 
be over-estimated. 2 Sa'ad himself, in those early days, was 
pleased to acknowledge himself a disciple of the man who 
had become one of the recognized leaders of the country. 
Writing to ( Abduh after the latter 's banishment from Egypt, 
he speaks of himself and others as 'we the group of your 
followers and disciples', he complains of a 'weakness' in his 
thoughts which has been troubling him since his experiences 
during the ( Arabi period, and entreats his master not to leave 

Sa'ad and 'Abduh are discussed, to show how much the former owed to the 
latter with respect to his character and training. 

1 Ibid., p. 710. 

2 Ibid., xxii (1921), 510. The article, entitled 'The New Stage in the 
Egyptian Question', is a defence of Sa'ad's conduct relative to the disrup- 
tion which occurred in the ranks of the Egyptian Delegation (Wafd) of 
which he was the head. The article contains further biographical details. 

228 The « Mandr' Party 

off writing to him to give him strength and encouragement. 
He concludes, 'May God aid us in following you', and signs 
himself, 'Your son'. 1 

After c Abduh left Egypt, Sa'ad took up the practice of law. 
He rose rapidly in his profession until he became, first, a judge 
in the Native Tribunals and, finally, Counsellor to the Court 
of Appeal. He won recognition as an accomplished orator 
and debater, and became known for his exactness with regard 
to legal details, his independence of opinion, and his justice 
in rendering decisions. 2 In 1906 he was made Minister of 
Public Instruction that he might quell the spirit of insurrec- 
tion which was rife among the students as a result of the 
agitation of Mustafa Pasha Kamil and which was rapidly 
rendering all discipline in the schools impossible. In this he 
was not entirely successful, although he showed much energy 
and foresight in his reforms. But he did succeed in becoming, 
more than any other Egyptian, the target of Nationalist 
attacks. 3 Later, he was made Minister of Justice, and when 
the new Legislative Assembly was established in 1913, was 
chosen the first Vice-President. The subsequent events of his 
career, beginning with his request, in 1918, that he and the 
other members of the Egyptian Delegation might present 
Egypt's political claims and aspirations before the British 
Foreign Office, to his death on August 24, 1927, through 
which he rose to the greatest heights of popularity and power 
as the champion of Egyptian independence, beloved and 
idolized by all classes of the population, are of too recent 
occurrence and too familiar to require recounting here. 

One salient feature of his career can scarcely escape atten- 
tion, in even such a brief review of it as that just given, and 
that is, the decided change in his attitude towards the British 
Occupation. During the greater part of his public career he 
was a sincere and able supporter of the Occupation and co- 
operated in its programme of administrative reform. The 
fact that he was chosen as head of the Ministry of Public 

1 Al-Manar xxviii. 591, 592. 

2 Ibid., xxii. 510. His early rise may have been due, in part, to the 
influential position of his father-in-law, Mustafa Pasha Fahmi, long Prime 
Minister and friend of the Occupation. (Egypt, p. 233.) 

3 The Truth about Egypt, pp. 55, 193. 

The "Manar" Party 229 

Instruction at a time when the schools were the focus of 
Nationalist agitation, affords evidence of the confidence 
which the Government entertained with regard to him. His 
defence before the Assembly in 1909 of Government's pro- 
posals regarding the extension of the Suez Canal Concession, 
which was being bitterly opposed by the Nationalists, is 
another evidence of his loyalty. 1 In the willingness to co- 
operate which he had thus far shown, he was following the 
precedent set by Muhammad 'Abduh, which, indeed, had 
become one of the principles of ' Abduh's party. Lord Cromer 
in his Annual Report for 1906, speaks of Sa'ad as 'one of the 
distinguished members ' of 'Abduh's party; 2 and in his fare- 
well speech he refers to him as ' one with whom I have only 
recently co-operated, but for whom, in that short time, I have 
learned to entertain a high regard'. 3 'Later in his life', says 
Rashid Rida, 'Sa'ad entered upon a period of following 
European customs in his daily life and in his opinions regard- 
ing social and legal affairs, and the idea of Egyptian nationality 
got the better of the idea of the "Islamic Society " (advocated 
by Al-Manar). He continued, however, to say that Muslims 
will not make any real advance except by the religious reform 
which Muhammad c Abduh and Jamal had advocated.' 4 
Whatever the reasons which led to this change of front — and 
they are to be sought for in political considerations rather 
than in matters which concern us in this discussion — the fact 
remains that the most able of the co-operators became the 
strongest opponent of the British and the most determined 
and unyielding advocate of the complete independence of 

Sufficient has been said to show the part which the training 
and influence of Muhammad ' Abduh played in the preparation 
of the ablest and most distinguished of the modern political 
leaders who have sprung directly from the soil of Egypt. The 
progress of events and the growth of political ideas in Egypt 
conspired with his native abilities and his training to win 
him a foremost place as a successful leader. For the readiness 
of the nation to assent to his leadership, as Rashid Rida 

1 The Truth about Egypt, p. 328. 2 Ibid., p. 82. 

3 Egypt, p. 233. * Al-Manar, xxviii. 711. 

230 The * Manar ' Party 

suggests, was quite as important a factor in his success as his 
own preparedness and experience. 'Had it not been for this 
(readiness) ', he says, 'his own preparedness would have gone 
for naught, as did that of his master, Muhammad 'Abduh, 
whose preparedness was greater than that of Sa'ad.' 1 

Social Reform. 

One of the prominent and essential ideas in the pages of 
Muhammad ' Abduh's writings and in Al-Manar is the neces- 
sity for the training and education of girls, no less than of 
boys, and for the reform of the social conditions and customs 
affecting the lives of the women of Muslim lands. In nothing 
does Islam show its fitness to be considered a modern world 
religion, they held, more than in the high position of honour 
which it accords to woman. In all essential respects, accord- 
ing to its teaching, she is on an equality with man. Polygamy, 
although permitted in the Kur'an, is a concession to neces- 
sary social conditions which was given with the greatest 
reluctance, inasmuch as it is accompanied by the proviso that 
a man may marry more than one wife only when he is able 
to care for all and give to each her rights with impartiality 
and justice. The practical impossibility of doing so, it is said, 
indicates that the Divine Law, in its intent, contemplated 
monogamy as the original and ideal state of marriage. 2 There 
are other indications to the same effect in the Divine Law, as, 
for example, in the law of inheritance which provides that all 
the surviving wives together, if there be more than one, shall 
inherit the portion of only one wife. 3 Because the original 
intent of the Kur'an has been ignored, the evils of polygamy 
and of easy and frequent divorce and of other harmful social 
customs, it is frequently pointed out, have affected unfavour- 
ably the social and moral status of women in Muslim lands. 
It is essential that these conditions should be corrected, if 
necessary by appropriate changes in the canon law of Islam, 
certainly by improved opportunities for education, that the 

1 Al-Manar, xxviii. 714. 

3 Tafsir, iv. 349 sqq. (Al-Manar, xii. 571 sqq.), on Surah iv. 3 ; Koranaus- 
legung, pp. 360-3 ; Al-Manar, ii. 125, &c. 
3 Al-Manar, xii. 741, on Surah iv. 14. 

The ' Manar' Party 231 

women may be raised to the level originally contemplated in 
the religion of Islam. 1 

But it remained for one of 'Abduh's younger followers, 
Kasim Amin (1865-1908), who, at the time of his death on 
April 22, 1908, was still a comparatively young man, to make 
this field of reform particularly his own and to arouse 
Egyptian public opinion by his writings to an unprecedented 
extent. In 1900 his book on The Emancipation of Woman 
('Tahrir al-mar'ah ') appeared, and this was followed in a year 
or two by his second book, The New Woman ( £ Al-mar'ah 
al-jadldah'), which was a defence of his first book and a reply 
to its critics. These two books, said Al-Manar at the time 
of their appearance, produced a greater impression on the 
public than any other recent book. 2 The author was maligned 
and attacked on all sides, because it was thought that his 
teaching would undermine the foundations of Muslim society. 
A recent contributor to the newspaper Al-Siydsah states that, 
in studying the works of Kasim and the replies which they 
evoked, he had discovered no less than thirty books and 
pamphlets written to refute his books or to attack him per- 
sonally. 3 Yet to-day he is hailed as 'the hero of the feminist 
awakening and its founder'. 4 

Kasim Amin was one of the little group of men who were 
mutual friends and followers of Muhammad 'Abduh, whose 
death occurred not long after that of their leader. He was a 
judge in the Court of Appeal of the Native Tribunals, and, in 
addition to his training in the law which was obtained in 
France, had studied works in ethics, sociology, psychology, 
and similar subjects. He was a thinker rather than a doer, is 
the judgement of Al-Manar, and some of his views on religious 
and sociological topics may be thought visionary. 5 Yet he 

1 Tafstr, iv. 349 sqq. ; on changes in the law, pp. 363 sqq. ; on divorce, pp. 383 
sqq. ; on excesses in mourning customs, pp. 419 sqq. ; on unsatisfactory state 
of marriage relationships, pp. 430 sqq., &c. 2 Al-Manar, iv { 1901 ), 26. 

3 Emancipation of Woman, Cairo, 3rd edition, no date, pp. 194 sqq., 
reproduced as supplement from Al-Siydsah, 

* Ibid., p. 193, quotation from an address by Madame Huda Sha'arawi, 
leader of the Feminist Movement in Egypt, President of 'L'Union Feministe 
Fjgyptienne', which was founded in 1923. 

6 Al-Manar, xi (1908-9), 226-9. A few biographical details are given. 
His life and work are reviewed at greater length in Mashahir, i. 310-19. 

232 The ' Manar' Party 

could devote himself with enthusiasm and persistence to the 
cause in which his sympathy had been enlisted. His efforts 
on behalf of the proposed Egyptian University, to which he 
gave much time during the last two years of his life as Vice- 
Chairman of the Organizing Committee, furnish an instance 
of this. The opening of the university in December 1908 did 
not occur until after his death. 

He had not been previously interested in the education of 
women and reforms on their behalf, until certain disparaging 
remarks of a French writer about Egyptian family life, and 
especially the use of the veil, led him to write a reply in 
French, in which he defended the use of the veil as a safe- 
guard of society and severely criticized the promiscuity and 
laxity of European social life. 1 From that time he began to 
study European works on the relation of woman to society 
and, as a result, became convinced that the real moral and 
material advancement of Egypt lay in the uplift of its women. 
He therefore wrote his Emancipation of Woman, directing his 
appeal for reform to the educated people of the country, all 
of whom, he believed, were persuaded of the need of reform. 2 

In his book he takes the general position of the 'Abduh 
teaching with reference to the high position of woman in 
Islam as fundamentally conceived. The present degradation 
of woman in Muslim countries is due to national traits of the 
nations which have accepted Islam; particularly, the spirit 
of oppression and tyranny has been perpetuated by tyrannical 
governments, and the men, oppressed themselves, have in 
turn become oppressors of the weaker sex. Education is the 
primary necessity for the uplift of the women. Education is 
discussed with reference to woman's function in society and 
in family life. Egyptian society, the author says, has suffered 
incalculable loss through the ignorance of half of the popula- 
tion, that is, the women, and to the same source is due a 
condition of family life in general, 'than which hell itself is, 
I suppose, more tolerable' (p. 32), Woman needs to be 
educated that her thoughts may be uplifted and that she may 

1 His reply was written under the title Les iSgyptiens: Eeponse a M. le 
Due <V Har court. Cf . Bahithat al-Badiyah-bahth intik&di (a Critical Study), 
by Al-Anisah 'Mayy ' (Mari Ziyadah), Al-Muktatif Press, Cairo, 1920, p. 129. 

2 Al-Manar, xi. 228. 

The "Manar" Party 233 

be freed from superstitions. She should receive enough 
primary education in a number of subjects, so that she may 
be able to continue her studies privately later in any one of 
these, should she choose. Moral and spiritual attractions, as 
well as physical, between husband and wife are essential to 
happy marital life, and these are due to similarity in educa- 
tion. Training of mind and character are also essential that 
she may properly manage her household and train her chil- 
dren. These views are commonplace enough to Western 
thought, and even to Egyptian educational leaders of the 
present day. But they were sufficiently revolutionary in 
Egypt at a time when public opinion did not favour the 
education of women and girls. 

It was his remarks in regard to the use of the veil which 
excited the greatest storm of protest. He did not advocate an 
immediate abolishment of its use, indeed, he defends it as a 
principle of morality. But neither the Kur'an nor the Divine 
Law require the present excessive use of it. Its use does not 
promote a wholesome moral influence, rather the contrary, 
for it strengthens the idea that the only reason why meetings 
between the sexes should take place is for purposes of passion. 
The isolation of girls at the period of adolescence, when they 
should be mingling with others and learning from them, is 
harmful, and the exclusion of women in inactivity and idle- 
ness is deteriorating to character. The women and girls 
should be permitted to mingle freely in general society, 
and take their part in charitable works, in business, and in 
public life. 

In regard to marriage and family life, he advocates such 
education of the women, accompanied by suitable changes in 
social customs and the laws of the country, as will result in 
a higher conception of marriage and marital life than that 
which is entertained by the books of canon law. If com- 
patibility of mind and temperament between husband and 
wife are to be secured, as well as physical attraction, ac- 
quaintance between the two previous to marriage must be 
possible. And the woman should have an equal right with 
the man to choose her partner in marriage. Polygamy 
is opposed as the source of many evils in family life, and 

234 The 'Mandr' Party 

monogamy is advocated, on the general grounds of the ' Abduh 
teaching, as the ideal form of marriage. Stringent reforms in 
regard to divorce are also required, he declares. The Christian 
attitude regarding divorce is a counsel of perfection to which 
governments, and even the Church itself, have not been able 
to conform. But divorce in Egypt, he says, is too easy and 
too frequent. This is because the schools of canon law permit 
the simple pronouncement of the three-fold formula of divorce 
to operate, whether the intention of divorce is present or 
not. As against this, he holds that the intention of divorce 
is essential, and he therefore proposes a model law, regulating 
procedure in cases of divorce, according to which the case 
proceeds regularly before a judge, in the presence of witnesses, 
after previous attempts at reconciliation between the parties 
have failed. The women also should be given the right of 
divorce, which is denied absolutely by some of the schools 
of canon law. 

The tide of disapproval which Kasim's books set in motion 
was still overwhelmingly against him when he died, and even 
to-day, says the writer in Al-Siydsah whose remarks were 
quoted above, one still finds those who disapprove ; but the 
number of those who believe that he was right is constantly 
increasing, indeed, nothing less than a revolution of thought 
has taken place. 'If he were to return to-day (after only 
twenty years)', says Dr. Haikal in his biographical account 
of Kasim, 'and witnessed, as a result of his summons, this 
compulsory education for boys and girls, this great woman's 
movement in the various phases of life, this comparative 
freedom that women now enjoy, and this reform in legislation 
concerning personal status — what has already been accom- 
plished and what is about to be accomplished — he would be 
filled with astonishment; and then his astonishment would 
be turned into rejoicing — and how great that rejoicing! — by 
reason of these results. And then his rejoicing would be 
followed by regret for the conservatism which he was com- 
pelled to observe in his books, forced thereto by the spirit 
of his unyielding generation.' 1 Reading his two books to-day, 
the same writer continues, we learn how conservative the 

1 Tardjim, p. 164. 

The "Manar* Party 235 

programme was which shook the very foundations of the 
customs of his day. To-day his appeal serves only as a picture 
of the ideas and customs current in his day and as one out of 
thousands of the same kind of appeals that are being written 
to-day, and, indeed, in most cases, those of to-day are more 
advanced and radical than his. 1 His ideas regarding general 
education and his literary ideals were likewise in advance of 
his time, but of these we cannot here speak in detail. It will 
be sufficient to refer to his hope that the new university 
would be a step towards the realization of a wider programme 
which would include a revolution in language and literature 
similar to that which his two books effected with regard to 
the education of women and the use of the veil. 2 

Kasim Amin's appeal on behalf of the women of Egypt 
found support from an unexpected quarter when Malak 
Hifnl Nasif (1886-1918) began during the years 1907-9, 
when the furor regarding Kasim's books was still in progress, 
to write and speak on behalf of women's rights. As a daughter 
of Hifni Bey Nasif, a distinguished member of 'Abduh's 
party 3 she was trained according to the more liberal standards 
which were held in that circle. After attending various 
primary schools, she entered the Saniyyah Training School 
for women teachers in 1893. She obtained the Government 
Primary certificate in 1900, the first year in which girls of- 
fered for that examination. She then continued her studies 
in the , secondary division, receiving the diploma in 1903. 
Thereafter she taught in Government schools for girls. In 
1907 she was married to f Abd al-Sattar al-Basil Pasha, a 
prominent member of an influential family of pure Arab 
stock. From this latter circumstance she derived her pen- 
name, 'Bahithat al-Badiyah', signifying 'the Inquiring 
Desert -woman'. She died, much lamented, on October 17, 
191 8. 4 A memorial service following her death, at which the 
Minister of Education presided, was attended by the leading 
men of the country and the list of speakers included not only 

1 Tarajim, p. 170. 

2 Ibid., pp. 169, 170. Cf. also pp. 174-7 for discussion of his ideals regard- 
ing education, and the Arabic language and literature. 

3 See above, p. 212. 

4 Bahithat al-Badiyah, p. xii, also p. 144. 

236 The 'Manar" Party 

men of advanced views but also conservative men of the 
'Shaikh 5 class. On the first anniversary of her death a 
women's memorial service was held in the Egyptian Univer- 
sity, at which Madame Sha'arawl Pasha presided. At both 
of these gatherings words of praise were said of her which had 
never before been spoken of a woman in Egypt. 1 

Her collected articles and addresses show that she did not 
hesitate to deal with many of the problems which Kasim's 
books had made the subject of heated controversy. There 
are articles on such subjects as the following: 'A View of 
Marriage — Woman's complaints against it ' ; ' The Use or 
Disuse of the Veil ' ; ' Our Schools and our Young Women ' ; 
' The Education of Girls in Home and School ' ; ' Marriage ' ; 
' Polygamy * ; ' The Marriage Age ' ; ' Painting of the Face ' ; &c. 
In an article on 'Women's Principles ', she analyses the faults 
and weaknesses of women which contribute to unhappiness 
in the family and the failure of marriage ; and she does the 
same for the men under the title 'Corresponding Ideas in 
Men \ In other articles she discusses some of the reasons why 
men lose their good influence with their families, and the 
evils of marrying two sisters to the same husband, as plural 
wives, and other problems of family life. In some of her 
addresses she replies to objections raised by men to the 
education of women, pointing to the ability of women even 
in horsemanship, war, politics, &c, when given a chance; 
she maintains that they should be permitted to engage in 
some useful form of employment during their spare time and 
that they have the personal right to engage in law, medicine, 
and other professions. 2 The following 'Ten Points' in ac- 
cordance with which she thought legislation desirable, fairly 
sum up her views: (1) Teaching of true religion to girls — the 
Kur'an and the true Sunnah. (2) Primary and secondary 
education for girls, the former compulsory for all classes of 
the population. (3) Teaching of domestic science, theoretical 
and practical health laws, training of children, first aid, &c. 
(4) Appointment by the Government of a certain number of 
girls, sufficient to meet the needs of the women of Egypt, to 
be trained in medicine and the science of education. (5) 

1 Bdhithat al-Bddiyah, pp. 181-3. 2 Al-NisaHyyat, pp. 95 sqq. 

The ' Manar ' Party 237 

Entire freedom to every woman or girl to study anything else 
that she may desire. (6) Training of girls from childhood in 
truthfulness, energy in work, patience, &c. (7) The following 
of the prescribed legal forms in the contracting of marriages, 
no parties to be married except at the hands of the proper 
official. (8) The adoption of the practice of Turkish women in 
Constantinople in regard to wearing the veil and appearing 
in public. (9) The maintenance of the welfare of the country 
and refusal, so far as possible, to adopt that which is foreign, 
either in things or persons (e.g. foreign marriages). (10) The 
men to see that the foregoing principles are put into practice. 1 

It is apparent that ' Bahithat al-Badiyah ' was greatly in- 
fluenced by Kasim Amin, and that she was following his lead, 
even though she declared in one of her poems that she did not 
belong to his way of thinking, meaning probably that she did 
not go the length to which he did. Miss 'Mayy', in her 
discerning comparison of the two, 2 says in regard to her 
denial : ' It is a denial that shows that she was not giving him 
his dues — I dare not say that she did not understand him. 
For how could I dare to say that when I believe, in spite of 
myself, that his influence over her was great, and that she 
took up the pen with courage only because his pen inspired 
her, preparing a path for her in the hearts of the people and 
creating a receptiveness and readiness in their thoughts.' She, 
like him, sought definite objectives and went about her reform 
almost in the same way in which he did. She was his daughter 
in thought and daring and his pupil in advocating reform in 
women's affairs. It is no contradiction of this that there were 
slight differences between the two. 3 

At the same time, she was more conservative than he. 
'She walked warily', says Miss 'Mayy', 'in the midst of the 
varieties of new thoughts and modern opinions. For every 
forward step that she took she looked backward, in order to 
be assured that she was following the path which connects 
the past with the future.' She sought to follow a middle 
course, preserving as much as possible of current customs. 
'When you hear her raise her voice, you frequently imagine 

1 Al-Nisd'iyyat, pp. 117, 118. 

2 Bahithat al-Badiyah, p. 112. 3 Ibid., p. 113. 

238 The ' Manar' Party 

that she is doing it to assure you that she is not afraid ; and 
you conjecture in like manner that she is raising her voice in 
order to hear a human voice — even though it be her own — 
that will remove from her the feeling of fear and dismay in 
her solitariness of thought.' On the other hand, Kasim spoke 
out without fear. 1 Her greater conservatism appears, for 
example, in regard to discarding the use of the veil. Kasim 
did not advocate discarding it at once ; he agreed with her 
that a period of education is necessary first, but he believed 
in greater freedom of social intercourse between the sexes 
than was then thought permissible. She, on the other hand, 
did not approve of discarding the veil, not on religious or 
economic grounds but on social grounds ; it stands for greater 
freedom between the sexes and this is not to be desired. 
'When we study the different classes of society', she says, 
'and compare the degree to which the women mingle with 
the men in each class, we learn for a certainty that the class 
that mingles most freely is the most corrupt.' 2 They both 
believed in the desirability of acquaintance between the man 
and the woman before marriage ; but while Kasim favoured 
free opportunities of intercourse that acquaintanceship might 
come about naturally, she thought that two or three meetings 
are sufficient to discover whether the two are mutually at- 
tracted and to reveal essential traits of character. Further 
information can be obtained by discreet questioning on the 
part of the two families concerned. 3 

In 191 1/ Bahithat al-Badiyah ' presented to the Legislative 
Assembly ten claims for women, based on the above 'Ten 
Points', requesting access for women to the mosques, com- 
pulsory education for boys and girls, equal opportunities for 
women in education in professional schools, reforms regarding 
marriage and divorce, &c. 4 These proposals were at that time 
rejected, but the author of them continued her agitation for 
these and similar reforms, although, for some time before her 
death, her pen was silent because, as she confessed, she was 
discouraged regarding the possibility of accomplishing any- 
thing and uncertain as to the best course to pursue. 5 It 

1 Bahithat al-Badiyah, p. 125. 2 Al-NisaHyyat, p. 9. 3 Ibid., p. 111. 
4 Moslem World, xxi (1926), 277 sqq. B Bahithat al-Badiyah, pp. 153, 154^ 

The 'Mandr' Party 239 

should not be inferred that nothing had been done for women 
and girls before this time. Education for girls, for instance, 
was not a new thing in Egypt. As long previous as 1856, the 
first school for girls was founded by American missionaries. 
The first Government school for girls was founded by the 
Khedive IsimVil Pasha in 1873. But general recognition of 
the rights of women can only be the result of a long process 
of growth. To this process, Kasim and ' Bahithat al-Badiyah ' 
contributed each in characteristic way. If it is difficult to 
estimate the extent of their influence, it is still more difficult 
to imagine conditions if they had not written, as Miss 'Mayy ' 
suggests. 1 But there can be no question that the present 
feminist movement in Egypt, which acknowledges its in- 
debtedness to the leadership of Kasim, is an acceleration of 
this process. There are now three leading feminist associa- 
tions in Egypt, each with its own organ of publicity. 'L'U- 
nion Feministe ]§gyptienne\ a woman's suffrage organiza- 
tion which was formed on March 26, 1923, with Madame 
Huda Sha'arawi as president, has published a programme of 
social, political, and educational reform, including equal op- 
portunities for women, reforms of the marriage laws, raising 
the age of consent for girls to sixteen years, public hygiene, 
and child welfare. 2 


Since it was a fundamental postulate of the 'Abduh school 
that the true, in other words, the reformed, Islam is suitable 
in all respects to be considered the most reasonable modern 
faith, it followed as a corollary to this that they should be 
willing to demonstrate this suitability on all occasions. They 
have revealed great aptness and ingenuity in doing so ; no 
difficulties of literal statement, in the Kur'an itself or in any 
of the other sources which they recognize as fundamental to 

1 Bahitfiat al-Badiyah, p. 144. 

2 Egypt, p. 287. In addition to this reference and the article in the Moslem 
World previously mentioned, the following may be consulted : ' The Women's 
Movement in the Near and Middle East', art. in Asiatic Review, April 1928, 
pp. 188 sqq. ; 'Madame Hoda Charaoui — a Modern Woman of Egypt', 
art. in The Woman Citizen, September 1927; on the Women's Movement in 
Turkey, Memoirs of Halide Edib, London, 1926. 

240 The ' Mandr ' Party 

Islam, have been regarded as impossible of harmonization 
with the most advanced scientific ideas of the present day. 
Further, they have not been content to remain on the de- 
fensive, but have carried the attack into the Christian camp, 
by making use of the methods and results of modern critical 
scholarship in Europe and America and of the literature of 
Western atheistic and rationalistic attacks upon the sources, 
doctrines, and practices of Christianity. Some examples have 
already been given of the apologetic writings of *Abduh, and 
of Rashid Rida in Al-Manar. Mention must now be made of 
one who was most active in this field until his early death in 
1920, Dr. Muhammad Tawflk Sidki (1881-1920), physician 
in the Government Department of Prisons at Turrah, near 

It was during his days as a medical student that Dr. Sidki 
began his special studies which led to his devoting so much 
of his attention to apologetic writings. His reading of the 
polemic writings of Christian missionaries regarding Islam 
had raised many doubts in his mind ; his reading of Al-Manar 
had suggested certain lines of study which seemed to offer 
hope of escape from these difficulties. As a result, he entered 
upon a course of reading and study, under the direction of 
Rashid Rida, which issued eventually in his unequivocal 
acceptance of the new Islam as expounded by Muhammad 
'Abduh. 1 He summarizes his creed as 'the Islam that is 
established by logical proof, and which consists in obedience 
and uprightness and in personal and social reform 5 . 2 The 
results of this study appeared as a series of articles in Al- 
Manar under the caption, 'Religion from the View Point of 
Sound Reason' (Al-din fi nazar al-'akl al-sahih). These have 
since been published in book form. 3 Most of his views on 
theology, prophecy, and the Kur'an, says Rashid Rida, were 
derived from the writings of Muhammad r Abduh, his studies 
of Muslim writings and of Western books were directed by 
Rashid Rida. In these articles Islam appears as the perfect 
and final religion. 

1 Al-Manar, xxi. 483 sqq., account of his life and work. 

2 Ibid., p. 494. 

3 They appeared first in Al-Manar, viii. 1905. First printed separately 
during his lifetime, 2nd ed., 1346/1927-8, Al-Manar Press, 176 pp. 

The ' Mandr ' Party 241 

Another line of studies is represented in his article on 
'Astronomy and the Kur'an'. 1 The article deals with de- 
scriptive astronomy, and treats instructively of the earth, the 
planets and their orbits, the fixed stars, the revolving moons, 
&c. In each case, it is shown that the teaching of the Kur 'an 
anticipates and agrees with the modern scientific explanation. 
It recognizes that there are systems of stars, bound together 
by the force of gravitation, a fact which Europeans claim to 
have discovered but which is thus anticipated by the Kur'an. 
This is one of the evidentiary miracles of the Kur'an of a 
scientific nature. 2 At the end of the world the power of 
attraction which holds the systems together will be loosed 
and the stars scattered, as the Kur'an says (Surah lxxxii. 1 ; 
lxxxiv. I). 3 The ' seven heavens ' which are frequently men- 
tioned in the Kur'an are the seven planets, for, etymologically, 
the heavens are anything that is above man or overhead ; and 
these are represented as being in layers or planes, that is, one 
above the other, because the orbit of each is above the orbit 
of the other. 4 Since our solar system revolves around a cer- 
tain star, the identity of which is not exactly known, it is 
clear that the other systems also are in motion around a fixed 
star. It is not a remote possibility, then, that all these 
systems revolve around one centre common to all, which 
attracts and controls and regulates all, the throne or seat of 
the universe. The most probable view is that this common 
centre of the universe is what the Kur'an means by the 
'Throne of God'. This star is fixed in its place by means of 
special forces which God has established, the nature of which 
we do not know, but which are spoken of in the Kur'an as 
the eight angels which bear the throne of God (as in Surah 
lix. 15, and elsewhere). 5 There are many other interesting 
and ingenious cases of interpretation and harmonization, but 
the foregoing illustrations must suffice. 

A third field in which Dr. Sidki employed his pen was that 
of polemics against Christianity. Numbers of his articles 
appeared in volumes xv and xvi of Al- Mandr, some of which 
have since been published separately. Some of these articles 

1 Al-Mandr, xiv. 577-600. 2 Ibid., p. 580. 

3 Ibid., p. 580. 4 Ibid., p. 585. 6 Ibid., p. 590. 

242 The 'Mandr' Party 

were so virulent, Al-Mandr states, that protests were lodged 
by the missionaries with the authorities, with the result that 
Dr. Sidki was forbidden to write further articles of that 
nature, and Al-Mandr published its intention to follow 
thereafter a more lenient course of reply. One of his articles 
deals with the crucifixion of Christ and his resurrection. 1 The 
common Muslim view is given, that Judas Iscariot was 
crucified instead of Jesus. This is supported by statements 
from the supposed Gospel of Barnabas and the beliefs of 
certain early heretical Christian sects, as the Cerinthians and 
the Carpocratians. The evidence of the Gospels is examined 
in detail and discredited. Another work bears the title, 
A View Concerning the Books of the New Testament and the 
Doctrines of Christianity. 2 A detailed discussion is made of 
the external testimony for the books of the New Testament, 
as well as bf the internal evidence. Much is made of the 
differences between the Gospel of John and the Synoptic 
Gospels. The greater part of the New Testament, it is argued, 
is the work of Paul, who was at enmity with the other Apostles, 
and many of whose statements are contradictory and exag- 
gerated. Paul himself was subject to epileptic fits, and on this 
ground his supposed conversion and his visions are to be 
explained. Many objections to the New Testament are found 
on doctrinal grounds ; intimations in the Gospels of limitations 
in the knowledge of Jesus, for example, are turned as argu- 
ments against the doctrine of his Divine nature. The char- 
acter of Jesus himself is not immune from suggestions of a 
derogatory nature. Evidences also of textual corruption are 
found, as in the different statements regarding the hour at 
which the crucifixion took place. In such manner as the fore- 
going, at great length and in great detail, the attempt is made 
to show the mistaken and unreasonable character of Christian 
beliefs and the corrupt and uncertain nature of the text of 
the Scriptures upon which they are based. 

1 'My View concerning the Crucifixion of Christ and his Resurrection 
from the Dead*, pp. 87 sqq. of work entitled The Doctrine of Crucifixion 
and 'Redemption ("Akldat al-salb wa al-fida') by Muhammad Rashld Rida, 
Al-Manar Press, 1331/1913. 

9 Nazarahfi kutvh al- K ahd al-jadid wa ' aha id al-nasrdniyyah, Al-Manar 
Press, 1331/1913, 264 pp. 

The 'Mandr' Party 243 

Muhammad Farid Wajdi (1875- ) is another of the 
' Abduh circle who has done a great deal of apologetic writing, 
although he seems to have given particular attention to 
sociological studies. Thus, Al-Hildl, the leading Arabic 
literary periodical, after mentioning that he has been studying 
and writing for not less than thirty years, remarks that he 
may be considered as almost alone in his knowledge of 
Egyptian life from the sociological point of view. 1 His prin- 
cipal apologetic work, Islam and Civilization, appeared in 
1899, to which Rashid Rida accords the highest praise pos- 
sible for him to give, as he says, when he places it second only 
to 'Abduh's Risdlat al-tawMd as a modern statement of the 
principles of Islam, and he points out a number of respects in 
which Wajdi has followed 'Abduh, not only in his style but 
also in his method of approach to the topics treated. 2 Dr. 
Muhiddin, in his history of Turkish modernism, refers to 
Far id Wajdi as one of the Egyptians who have pointed out 
the connexion of Turkish reform with the religious awakening 
in Egypt under the leadership of Muhammad * Abduh. 3 That 
he inclines toward the conservative side, however, may be 
judged from the fact that he wrote a reply to Kasim Amin. 4 
He has written and compiled, apparently unaided, The 
Twentieth-century Encyclopedia of Knowledge and Language 
('Da/irat Ma'arif al-karn al- c ishrin'), of which ten volumes 
have thus far appeared. The list of his works contains a 
number of others on scientific and philosophical subjects. 5 In 
1921 he began the issue of a bi-monthly journal, entitled 
Al- Wajdiyydt, containing moral essays in the form of dialogues 
of birds personified, &c, and also brief articles, of a popular 
nature, on religious, philosophical, and scientific subjects. 

1 Al-Hildl, November 1931. Wajdi reviews the development of forty- 
years from the point of view of 'Civilization and Society'. 

2 Al-Mandr, ii. 110, 111. A selection from his book is printed with 
'Abduh's Al'Isldm wa al-radd 'aid muntakidihi, 1343/1924, 1925, pp. 
131 sqq. 

3 Die Kulturbewegung im modemen Turkentum, Dr. Phil. Ahmed 
Muhiddin, Leipzig, 1921, p. 64. He also mentions l Abd al-'Aziz Bey 
Shawlsh and *Abd al-Malik Hamzah Bey in the same connexion. 

4 Sarkis, Matbu'at, cols. 1451-2, 'al-Mar'ah al-Muslimah ', reply to 
'Al-Mar'ah al-Jadidah'. 

6 Ibid. 

244 The ' Manar ' Party 

Only seventeen numbers appeared, however, the last one 

dated April 15, 1922.1 

His apologetic work, Islam and Civilization, which was 
first written in French and then translated into Arabic, 2 was 
composed with the special object of 'acquainting Europeans 
with the truth about the Islamic religion and to prove that 
it assures to man the acquisition of the two happinesses (Here 
and Hereafter), and secures for him ease in both existences' 
(p. 5). This is necessary because Westerners have become the 
ruling power in the greater part of the Muslim world and yet 
remain ignorant of the essential and true Islam, thinking of 
it only as a burden to the intellect, which they hope to reform 
by modern learning. They are excusable in holding such 
ideas of Islam, so long as they see before their eyes only 
innovations devised by light-minded people and followed by 
the masses — innovations such as funeral customs, mawlids, 
zikrs, and many other things (p. 5). 'If they see these 
things and educated Muslims make no effort to remove them, 
what blame can attach to Westerners if they think this is 
Islam ? ' (p. 6). Therefore, the author hopes to accomplish a 
twofold purpose, namely, advocate reform and defend the 
true Islam. 

The spirit of the work may be indicated by the following 
quotations, the sense of which is repeated many times : 'There 
is no principle that has been discovered by experience and no 
theory that has been established by the testimony of the 
senses, which have had an influence in the progress of man 
and in uplifting civilization, but are an echo of a verse from 
the Kur'an or of a tradition of the Prophet ; so that the ob- 
server imagines that all effort and energy on the part of the 
scholars of the world towards the uplift of mankind have no 
other purpose than to bring practical proof of the truth of 
the principles of Islam' (p. 40). In this spirit, the Islamic 
regulations regarding slavery are held to be the highest type 
of humanitarian arrangement (pp. 118 sqq.), and the conduct 
of the Islamic state towards subject races of other religions 

1 Majmu^at al-Wajdiyydt. First number February 15, 1921. 

2 Al-Madaniyyah wa al-Islam — aw tatblk al-diyanah al-Isldmiyyah K ala 
al-nawamis al-Masihiyyah — 2nd ed., 1322/1904, 162 pp. 

The "Manar" Party 245 

within its borders (for the only relation possible for people 
of other religions within the bounds of the Islamic state is that 
of subject races) is the highest example of the toleration of 
one religion towards another (pp. 125 sqq.). 

Wajdi has also interested himself in another line of research, 
namely, that of the occult and the spiritual. In his Wajdiyydt 
he concerns himself with replies to the materialistic philo- 
sophy, advancing results of spiritualistic investigations and 
occult experiences as indications of the immortality of the 
spirit. Its pages contain also translations of selections from 
Camille Flammarion, under the title, 'Death and its Mys- 
teries 5 , the purpose of which is, Wajdi says, to establish 
sensible proofs of life after death. The same spiritualistic ideas 
occur in his Encyclopedia where he deals with the 'Jinn'. 
He says, after remarking that many shaikhs, who are to 
be trusted, have related that they saw and conversed with 
'Jinn': 'This is not unreasonable nor is it opposed to the 
laws of creation that God should create some spirits clothed 
with matter and other spirits free from matter. Can any one 
raise objection to such a belief, after the fact has been 
established in Europe that spirits freed from matter have 
appeared and have communicated with people, in seances 
for the calling up of spirits.' 1 

The name of another follower of Muhammad f Abduh who 
put forth apologetic works on behalf of the reformed Islam 
should be added, on the authority of Professor Martin Hart- 
mann. 2 - This writer is Shaikh Tantawi Jawhari, formerly 
Professor of Arabic Literature in the ' Dar al-'Uliim ' in Cairo. 
Three works by this author are reviewed by Dr. Hartmann. 
The first is The Crown Bedecked with the Jewels of the Kur'dn 
and the Sciences? The book is divided into fifty-two sections 
or 'Jewels', in which the attempt is made to arrange the 
Kur'an verses in six sections according to subject-matter, the 
plan of the work being to present in brief form the principal 

1 DaHrat al-Ma'arif, iii, 188, 189. 

2 Beitrdge zur Kenntniss des Orients, xiii, 1916, pp. 54-82, article entitled 
'Schaich Tantawi Dschauhari — Ein moderner agyptischer Theolog und 

3 Al-taj al-murassa 1 bi-jawdhir al-Kur'an wa al-'ulwn, Cairo, Takaddum 
Press, 1324/1906. " 

246 The ' Manar' Party 

doctrines of Islam. The second work is The Beauty of the 
World. 1 As the title suggests, this work consists for the most 
part of a series of nature studies, of animals, birds, and in- 
sects, with, however, other studies of a theological or scientific 
nature introduced also. The third work is entitled, Order and 
the World. 2 All three works, the second in particular, are 
characterized by a marked love of nature, in which the in- 
fluence of the works of John Lubbock, the English nature 
lover, are noticeable, especially his The Pleasures of Life and 
The Beauties of Nature and the Wonders of the World (1892). 3 

The first of the author's works was written as an apologetic 
for the religion of Islam and a summons to other nations to 
embrace it. The author had Japan principally in mind when 
he wrote it, and therefore dedicated it to the Mikado and 
sent it to be presented before the Japanese Parliament of 
Religions in 1906. 4 Through the instrumentality of his friend, 
Mahmud Bey Salim, the book was also translated into other 
languages for circulation in Turkey, Persia, and Russia. The 
work is, to a certain extent, autobiographical ; he tells of his 
studies in the Azhar University, and his efforts to reconcile 
Greek philosophy and modern science with the Kur'an. The 
work reveals also the important influence which the teachings 
of Al-Ghazzali exerted upon his thought. 

Dr. Hartmann states directly that Shaikh Tantawl was a 
pupil of Muhammad ( Abduh. 5 The statement is abundantly 
confirmed by a comparison of the doctrines contained in these 
works with those of 'Abduh. The chief Kur'an passage to 
which the author gives a detailed explanation in his first 
work was Surah ii. 159, on the signs of God in nature, the 
passage which had led him to the study of natural science ; 
this is one of the main passages upon which 'Abduh relies as 
a summons to the study of God in nature rather than in 
dialectic speculation. 6 All the familiar formulae of the 'Abduh 
teaching are present : Islam is a religion of understanding and 
thought, not of taklid ; the study of the sciences, if rightly 

1 Jamal al-'dlam, 2nd ed., Cairo, Hidayah Press, 1329/1911. 

2 Al-nizam wa al- % alam, no date given. 

3 Sir John Lubbock, first baron Avebury, 1834^1913. 

4 Cf. above, p. 196. 6 Op. cit., p. 71. 
6 Cf. Goldziher, Koranauslegung, p. 352. 

The ' Mandr ' Party 247 

understood, becomes a service of God ; veneration of prophets 
and saints is to be opposed ; exclusive adherence to one school 
of canon law is the source of rigidity and backwardness in 
Islam ; independent investigation (ijtikdd) is the solution for 
all the ills of the time, &C. 1 What is said of his second work 
may be taken as characteristic of his attitude throughout, 
which is likewise the fundamental attitude of the 'Abduh 
school, namely, that it represents the Kur'an as containing 
all that is essential for the solution of all problems. 2 

The present list may be completed by the addition of a 
final name on the authority of Dr. Philip K. Hitti, of Prince- 
ton University. He says of Shaikh 'Abduh al-Kadir al- 
Maghribi, that his writings 'breathe the same critical and 
liberal spirit as the two luminaries of modern Islam, Muham- 
mad *Abduh and Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, whose pupil the 
author was'. 3 A two-volume collection of essays by this 
author, on religious, social, literary, and historical subjects 
are reviewed by Dr. Hitti. These articles first appeared in the 
Egyptian press between the years 1906 and 1914. A number 
of illustrative passages from this work are cited, which estab- 
lish the affinity of the author's doctrines with those of the 
'Abduh school. It will be sufficient to quote what is there 
given as the author's main thesis : ' There is something wrong 
with Islam; it should be reformed; the reform should first 
begin as a religious movement ; this consists in a return to the 
precepts of the Kur'an, the following of the sound laws of 
thinking and the rejection of many usages and traditions 
which have hitherto passed as Islamic, but have in reality 
nothing to do with Islam.' 4 

1 Hartmann, op. cit., pp. 60-2, 73-4. a Ibid., p. 65. 

3 Jour. Amer. Orient. Soc. t vol. xlvii, March 1927, pp. 78, 79. 

4 Ibid., p. 78. 



IT is to be remarked in what has preceded, that Dr. Tawflk 
Sidki is the only Egyptian writer of those who may be 
considered as belonging to the younger generation, aside from 
Farid Wajdl who is somewhat older, of whom it may be said 
with considerable certainty that they belong to the school of 
Muhammad 'Abduh. Sidki is definitely claimed by Al-Manar 
as one of its group, and rightly so, as appears from his 
writings. But there is a group of modernist, writers and 
scholars in Egypt at present, somewhat younger than Sidki, 
who are displaying a marked literary activity of a progressive, 
in some cases extremely liberal, tendency, consideration of 
whose work has been reserved for the present chapter. It is 
natural to inquire to what extent the ideas of these leaders of 
modern Egyptian thought may have been influenced by those 
of Muhammad c Abduh. One thing which has an obvious 
bearing upon the subject, to begin with, is the fact that, when 
* Abduh died in 1 905, most of these men were still but youths, in 
the early stages of their education ; they could not have had 
opportunity for personal contact with him for a very long time, 
nor have come under his personal influence to a great extent. 
Rashid Rida, who, as nominally his successor, inherited his 
place of leadership, has shown himself more essentially con- 
servative in his ideas and less tolerant in his sympathies than 
'Abduh, and has, apparently, not been able to maintain the 
ascendency of influence over the younger generation of 
thinkers which the latter might have exerted had he lived. 
Another factor which enters into the question and adds to the 
difficulty of determining the extent of f Abduh's influence, is 
the fact that these men have experienced important literary 
and cultural contacts with the West, either through extended 
periods of residence in European universities, or through their 
study of the works of Western scholars, sometimes under the 
instruction of European scholars who were teaching in Egypt. 
Nevertheless, notwithstanding these considerations, it still 
remains certain that some, if not all, of these men have been 

The Younger Egyptian Modernists 249 

influenced by 'Abduh's ideas, if not directly, at least with 
respect to the spirit and attitude which they manifest in 
regard to modern problems. To discover, if possible, the 
extent of this influence with respect to certain individuals is 
the object of the present chapter. 

Obviously, it will not be possible, within the limits of the 
present study, to pass in review the work of all the writers 
of the present day who deserve consideration, and whose 
names should be included were a general survey of modern 
Egyptian literature intended. It has seemed advisable, there- 
fore, in view of the definite and limited aim in view, to choose 
three writers who are among the most important of the 
modernist group, and are, at the same time, sufficiently 
representative. These three are : Mustafa * Abd al-Razik, Pro- 
fessor of Philosophy in the Egyptian University; Taha Husain, 
until recently Professor of Arabic Literature in the same 
university ; and' Ah ? Abd al-Razik, brother of the first-named 
and formerly a judge in the Shari'ah Courts. 

Among those whose names should be included in a wider 
study is Muhammad Husain Haikal (1888- ), editor of 
Al-Siyasah, who took his doctor's degree in political economy 
at Paris University. 1 His connexion with Al-Jaridah, already 
noted as indicating a certain amount of sympathy with the 
new ideas which were being promulgated by Lutfi al-Sayyid 
and his group, was predominantly literary and nationalist in 
interest, rather than religious, as it has continued to be in his 
later connexion with Al-Sufur, the successor of Al-Jaridah, 
and with his own paper, Al-Siyasah. His views do not belong 
in the direct line of succession from ' Abduh, as represented by 
Al-Mandr } yet he is not entirely out of sympathy with some 
aspects of the movement, especially that represented by 
Kasim Amin, for whom Haikal expresses great admiration. 
Thus, for example, in explaining how he came to write his 
biographical sketches, after studying the leading characters 
of modern Egyptian history, he says that, from the time when 
he was a law student, he has given particular attention to all 
that Kasim wrote and all that has been written about him, 

1 Leaders in Contemporary Arabic Literature, by Tahir Khemirl and Dr. 
G. Kampffmeyer, 1930, pp. 20 sqq. 

250 The Younger Egyptian Modernists 

and, as a result, Kasim has left a particular influence upon 

his thought which he considers of the greatest value. x 

The possibility of direct influence by the ideas of 'Abduh 
in the case of 'Abbas Mahmud al-'Akkad (1889- ), and 
Ibrahim 'Abd al-Kadir al-Mazini (1890- ), is perhaps 
even more remote than in the case of Haikal, because of lack 
of personal relations or connexions with members of the 
'Abduh circle. Al-'Akkad was a friend of Sa'ad Pasha 
ZagUul, but during the later years when the political interests 
had become uppermost in the career of the latter. Al-Mazini 
relates that he saw Muhammad 'Abduh on two occasions, the 
first of which was when, as a boy of ten, he called at the home 
of 'Abduh, at the instance of an older brother, to solicit 
'Abduh's help on behalf of the brother. 'Abduh received the 
boy kindly, although he was at the time surrounded by im- 
portant visitors, and through his friend, Shaikh Abu Khatwah, 
granted the favour that was asked. 2 In the case of both Al- 
f Akkad and Al-Mazini, the predominant influence in shaping 
their literary ideals has been that of English literature. 3 Yet 
both belong to that group of Egyptian writers who believe 
that it is possible for the East to borrow unstintingly from 
the literary and scientific treasures of the West without 
abandoning the essential Arabic -Islamic character of its own 
culture and civilization. 4 In this respect, Professor Gibb be- 
lieves that both of them 'stand appreciably nearer to the 
conservative position than either Dr. Haykal or Dr. Taha 
Husayn'. 5 

Dr. Mansiir Fahmi (1886- ), lecturer in Philosophy at 
the Egyptian University, is perhaps nearer in spirit to 
Muhammad 'Abduh than any of the preceding. Dr. Mansiir 
spent five years in France, specializing in philosophy at the 
Sorbonne, receiving his doctor's degree at the end of the 
period. His doctor's dissertation on The Condition of Woman 

1 Tardjim, p. 10. 

2 Al-Siyasah, Supplement to No. 2733, February 26, 1932, 'Al-shaikh 
Muhammad 'Abduh', being a review of Tarikh, i. 

3 Khemiri, Leaders, pp. 13, 28; Gibb, iii. 460 sqq. 

4 Al~Hilal, November 1931. Mansur Fahml, The Relation of the East to 
the Culture of the West; Khemiri, pp. 15, 29; Gibb, iii. 461. 

6 Gibb, iii. 461. 

The Younger Egyptian Modernists 251 

in the Tradition and Evolution of Islam was a source of em- 
barrassment to him on his return, in that the opposition 
which it aroused prevented him from entering upon his 
position at the Egyptian University for some years. 1 In the 
course of his address at the 'Abduh Memorial Gathering in 
1922, he pays tribute to 'Abduh's greatness of character, his 
independence of thought and his ideals of education, and 
recalls the only occasion on which he had seen 'Abduh, 
namely, when he, as a schoolboy, saw the great man of whom 
he had heard so much pass by. 2 A collection of his essays, 
published in 1930 with the title, Thoughts ('Khatarat nafs'), 
reveals a moral idealism, a regard for religion, a scorn for 
unyielding conservatism, a respect for free thought and for 
the right of every individual to exercise his powers of reason, 
that recall much that was best in the writings of ' Abduh him- 
self, more in a certain kinship of outlook than in any dis- 
tinctive phrase or turn of thought. At the same time, there 
is much that scarcely accords with 'Abduh's thought, as 
when he considers that the sentiments of artistic appreciation 
which are stirred by the contemplation of the beautiful in the 
human form (p. 29), or in the movements of Pavlova (p. 46) 
are near akin to the spiritual and lead to feelings of worship 
and reverence for the Great Artist. His conservatism and his 
progressiveness are alike illustrated in his charge to the Girls' 
Edupational Mission as they were about to leave for study 
abroad: * These (the parting prayers and advice of your 
parents) will cry out in your ears that you belong to a people 
who have a past and traditions, and that the past lays upon 
you this charge, that while you may change it, you must not 
despise it' (p. 134). 

Mustafa *Abd al-Razik (1885- ). 

After this cursory glance at a few of the leading literary 
men of to-day, it is necessary to turn to the consideration of 
the three names that have been proposed for somewhat closer 
study. Mustafa c Abd al-Razik's connexion is more definite 
than anything that has met us in the case of the preceding 
names. He and his brother * All are sons of that Hasan ' Abd 

1 Khemlri, p. 16, n. 2 Printed Report^ p. 28; Al-Manar, xxiii. 513 sqq. 

252 The Younger Egyptian Modernists 

al-Razik Pasha who was a close friend of c Abduh and his 
associate in the Legislative Assembly, and who was leader of 
the People's Party in the year 1907. Both Mustafa and 'AH 
were pupils of 'Abduh in the Azhar University, the former 
for a longer time as he is somewhat the elder of the two 
brothers, Mustafa was, in fact, one of the group of his pupils 
who were closest to him. 1 An interesting light is thrown upon 
the relations of the 'Abd al-Razik family to Muhammad 
'Abduh and the character of the influence which the latter 
exerted, in the fact, related by Rashid Rida, that the members 
of the family had constituted themselves into a ' Society for 
the Cultivation of the Virtues', which held a meeting each 
week in their house. The meeting following the death of 
' Abduh was in the nature of a memorial meeting, in which 
members of the family spoke in praise of him and lamented 
his death. Both Mustafa and 'All spoke of themselves as his 
pupils. 2 Among the collected letters of 'Abduh, is one to 
Mustafa who had sent to him some lines of poetry which he 
had written in eulogy of him. 'Abduh replies in an affectionate 
manner and concludes with the hope that Mustafa's latter 
days may fulfil all the bright promises that can be discerned 
in his beginning. 3 

In 1909, after receiving the certificate of "Alim' from the 
Azhar, Mustafa went to France, where he studied sociology 
and ethics under Durkheim and other noted teachers. On his 
return to Egypt, he served for a time as Secretary of Muslim 
Religious Institutions and later as Inspector of Sharfah 
Courts. In 1927 he became Professor of Philosophy in the 
Egyptian University. Among his literary works are studies 
in the life and work and teachings of Muhammad 'Abduh, 
which show that he still maintains his loyalty to his former 
master. 4 He collaborated with M. Bernard Michel in trans- 
lating the Risalat al-tawhid into French, and he is the author 
of the excellent biography of 'Abduh and summary of his 

1 Statement in a private letter from 'All 'Abd al-Razik, dated October 
31, 1927. 

3 Tarlkh, iii. 210. 3 Ibid., ii. 550. 

4 His brother 'All, in the private letter mentioned above, states that, 
in his opinion, Mustafa is the one of 'Abduh's pxipils who best understands 
his principles and follows them most closely. 

The Younger Egyptian Modernists 253 

doctrines which constitute the introduction to the translation. 
During the winter of 1918-19 he delivered a series of lectures 
in the Egyptian University on 'The Life and Opinions of 
Shaikh 'Abduh', which, however, have not been published. 1 
At the meeting in commemoration of the seventeenth an- 
niversary of 'Abduh's death, he delivered the main address 
of the occasion, giving a summary of his biography. This 
address, together with the other addresses given on that 
occasion, was published in 1922, in commemoration of the 
anniversary. 2 It would seem, however, that although 
Mustafa has maintained his advocacy of Muhammad ' Abduh's 
principles, he is interested chiefly in the intellectual aspects 
of the renaissance introduced by f Abduh rather than the 
religious. It is this fact which marks an essential difference 
of sympathy and purpose between him and the wing of 
'Abduh's followers led by Al-Mandr, who cling to the original 
design of religious reform ; and in this intellectual interest he 
shows his kinship with the other members of the Modernist 
group who have little concern for moral or social reforms, but 
whose principal objective is to secure freedom of thought and 
independence of scientific research. Nevertheless, of the 
Modernist group he is the most closely related to 'Abduh and 
most directly carries on his tradition. 

TdhdHusain (1889- ). 

At the opposite wing of the Modernist group is Dr. Taha 
Husain. Although blinded as a result of illness at a very early 
age, he is a most brilliant student, who is fearlessly applying 
Western canons of literary criticism to the study of Arabic 
literature, in an endeavour to free such study from the tram- 
mels of ancient methods of criticism which have heretofore 
hampered it, and to raise Egyptian scholarship to a level of 
scientific efficiency comparable to that of Western scholarship. 
After securing his early education in a school in Upper Egypt, 
he entered the Azhar University where he remained for a 
number of years. But because of his independence of thought 

1 Cf. Michel, p. lxxxix. 

2 Ibid. Cf . Printed Report, pp. 10 sqq. The address is given also in 
Al-Mandr, xxiii. 520-30. 

254 The Younger Egyptian Modernists 

and his advanced ideas he was dismissed from the university 
before he had secured the final certificate. He at once entered 
the new Egyptian University which had just then opened its 
doors. During his period in the university he had the good 
fortune to study under Professor Nallino, the Italian 
orientalist ; and also under the eminent German scholar, 
Professor Enno Littmann of Tubingen, and Professor San- 
tillana. 1 In 1914 he received the degree of Doctor of Philo- 
sophy from the university, the first student to be granted the 
degree by that institution. 2 As thesis for his doctor's degree, 
he presented a study of the poetry of Abu al-'Ala al-Ma'am, 
which was published in 1915. 3 Because of his brilliant work 
as a student, he was sent to France as a member of the 
University's Educational Mission, and spent three years in the 
Sorbonne in Paris, when he was again awarded the doctor's 
degree with distinction. During his stay in France he also 
attended the lectures of Casanova in the College de France. 4 
His doctor's thesis, written in French, was on the subject, 
' The Philosophy of Ibn Khaldun : Introduction and Criticism \ 5 
Since entering upon the work of teaching in the Egyptian 
University, Dr. Taha has published other works. The first of 
these was a collection of studies, more or less disconnected, 
dealing with Islamic culture and the aspects of Islamic society 
as reflected in Arabic literature, particularly in the period 
culminating in Abu Nuwas. These studies first appeared 
weekly in the newspaper Al-8iydsdh i and hence were pub- 
lished under the title 'Wednesday Talks'. 6 Another work, 
his most important thus far, on the poetry of the pre-Islamic 

1 Al-adab al-jahili, 2nd ed., 1245/1927, p. 4. 

2 Dr. Taha Husain and his Critics, by S. A. Morrison, M.A. (Oxon). 
These articles appeared in the Diocesan Review of the Church Missionary 
Society of Cairo, January-April, 1927. In addition to a number of facts and 
suggestions contained in these articles, the present study is also indebted 
to Mr. Morrison for a private memorandum on an interview with Dr. Taha 
and one also on 'The Intellectual Antecedents of the Modernist Group in 

3 Al-adab al-jahili, p. 1. The work was published under the title Dhikra 
Abl al- K Ald. 

4 Falsa/at Ibn Khaldun, p. 7. 

6 Falsafat Ibn Khaldun: tahlll wa nakd, translated into the Arabic by 
Muhammad l Abd Allah 'Inan, Cairo, 1343/1925. 
e Hadith al-arba l a, Cairo, 1343/1925. 

The Younger Egyptian Modernists 255 

period, was published in 1926. 1 Such a storm of hostile 
criticism followed the appearance of this work, as is seldom 
aroused, even in Egypt, by a work which is accused, as this 
was, of undermining the foundations of the Islamic faith. 
Since the Egyptian University is a State institution, supported 
by State funds and under the supervision of the Department 
of Education, loud and insistent demands were made that 
Dr. Taha be dismissed from his post of teacher, that his book 
should be suppressed, and that the university should be re- 
quired to explain why it is teaching such heretical doctrines 
while receiving State support. The matter was introduced 
into the Egyptian Parliament, where a heated discussion took 
place, which would have resulted in a parliamentary crisis, 
when the Ministry made the issue a question of confidence in 
the Government, had not the friends of the Prime Minister 
intervened. The final result was that the offending book was 
suppressed and Dr. Taha presented his resignation to the 
university authorities, who refused to accept it. Legal pro- 
ceedings were also instituted against him by the Rector of the 
Azhar and others, but the Court, after a careful review of the 
charges, dismissed the case. 2 

His main thesis in the book is that the so-called pre- 
Islamic poetry is for the most part, not pre-Islamic at all. 
He confesses that he had previously had doubts about the 
genuineness of the pre-Islamic literature, and after investiga- 
tion he has reached a conclusion which amounts almost to 
absolute certainty. 'That is, that absolutely the greater part 
of what we call pre-Islamic literature does not belong to the 
pre-Islamic period at all, but was forged only after the ap- 
pearance of Islam. It is, therefore, Islamic, representing the 
life, the tendencies and the predilections of the Muslims, more 
than it does the life of the pre-Islamic period. ' What remains, 
he continues, of genuine pre-Islamic literature is very scanty 
indeed, and not to be depended upon for a correct picture of 

1 Al-shVr al-jahili. In the second edition, the book was revised by the 
omission of the most objectionable section, a different section was sub- 
stituted, and others added. The title was also changed to Al-adah al 
jahili, 2nd ed., 1345/1927. 

3 The report of the findings of the Court is given in Al-Manar, xxviii. 
368 sqq. 

256 The Younger Egyptian Modernists 

the culture of that period. 1 He finds a number of motives 
which led to this poetry's being attributed to poets of the 
period before Islam whose names were famous: to promote 
political designs, to gratify national rivalries, to serve the 
purposes of narrators, story-tellers, grammarians, tradition- 
collectors, theologians, and commentators on the Kur'an. 

It is in his discussion of the religious motive that he has 
particularly aroused the ire of the orthodox. The pre -Islamic 
poetry has been an apparently inexhaustible source from 
which proof and illustration have been drawn in support of 
the doctrines of Islam or to demonstrate the grammatical 
correctness and rhetorical elegance of the language of the 
Kur'an. All of this poetry, which is so abundant, says Dr. 
Taha, that we might imagine that all the ancients were poets, 
has been fabricated to meet the exigencies in view ; it has all 
been 'cut to measure'. 2 Furthermore, in the course of his 
work, he has given expression to ideas which have been taken 
as indications of a sinister purpose of unbelief on the author's 
part, as when he denies the legend of the founding of the 
'Ka'abah' by Abraham and Ishmael and questions the his- 
torical existence of these two individuals, denies that the 
seven variant dialectical readings of the Kur'an, which are 
commonly accepted as having emanated from Muhammad 
himself, ever came from him, and denies that the religion of 
Islam was primarily the religion of Abraham and existed in 
Arabia before the time of Muhammad. 

But the chief significance of the book does not lie in its 
doubts and denials of Islamic beliefs, although that is what 
has principally aroused opposition to it in orthodox circles, 
but in the critical methods of approach to the study of Arabic 
literature which it advocates. In his introductory chapters he 
severely criticizes the methods now in use in teaching Arabic 
literature, and throughout the book he levels his shafts of 
ridicule against the attitude which accepts everything which 
the ancients said, without criticism, taking everything on 
faith. The ancients themselves knew very little of criticism. 
' It is my desire ', he says, ' that we should not accept anything 

1 Al-adab al-jMiili, 2nd ed., 1245/1927, p. 64. 2 Ibid., pp. 147, 148. 

The Younger Egyptian Modernists 257 

of what the ancients said about our literature and its history, 
except after examination and confirmation/ This new 
method of critical research will turn the old science upside 
down, he affirms. 1 The study of Arabic literature, he says 
further, if it is to be developed as it should, must be freed 
from its connexion with the theological sciences. At present 
it is studied simply as a means to the understanding of the 
Kur'an and traditions, and if it were possible to understand 
them without it, it would not be studied at all. Arabic 
is regarded as a sacred language and is therefore not subjected 
to true scientific investigation. But if Arabic literature is to 
enjoy an existence suitable to the present day, the study of it 
should receive the same recognition, and should be conducted 
with the same independence and lack of interference, that are 
accorded to the study of medicine or any other recognized 
science. 'Why should I simply repeat what the ancients said 
or publish what they said ? Why should I spend my life in 
praising the orthodox Sunnis or berating the heretical Shi'ites 
and Mu'tazilites and Kharijites, without any gain or any 
scientific purpose ? Who can compel me to study literature 
to become a preacher of Islam or a guide to infidels, when I do 
not wish to preach nor to argue with infidels, but am content 
to keep my own religion as a matter between God and 
myself'. 2 

Thus Dr. Taha proposes to make the study of Arabic 
literature a scientific procedure, free from all the presupposi- 
tions and prejudices, religious and otherwise, which have 
characterized it from the beginning ; ' for the ancients were 
either Arabs prejudiced in favour of the Arabs, or non-Arabs 
prejudiced against them*. 3 'When we undertake the in- 
vestigation of Arabic literature and its history*, he says, 'we 
must forget our national feelings and all their specializing 
tendencies. We must forget our religious feelings and all that 
is connected with them.' 4 The method which he himself pro- 
poses to follow in his inquiry is 'the course followed by modern 
scientists and philosophers in their treatment of science and 
philosophy. I propose to apply to literature the philosophical 

1 Al-adab al-jahili, 2nd ed., 1245/1927, pp. 60, 61. 

2 Ibid., pp. 55, 56. 3 Ibid., p. 68. 4 Ibid., p. 67. 

258 The Younger Egyptian Modernists 

method originated by Descartes \ x It is thus evident through- 
out his work that he is not chiefly, if at all, concerned with 
the religious aspects of his studies. It is the scientific aspect, 
the desire to raise Egyptian scientific studies in the eyes of 
European scholars, that most concerns him. At the same 
time, he endeavours to minimize any unfavourable im- 
pression which his methods may make upon the public 
mind, by showing that it is possible to maintain, at one and 
the same time, the critical attitude of the scholar and the 
receptive attitude of faith. For example, he writes in the 
weekly issue of Al-Siydsah for July 17, 1926, as follows: 
'Every one of us, if he but think a little, can discover in him- 
self two distinct personalities: one a reasoning personality, 
that investigates, criticizes, makes solutions, changes to-day 
the opinion it held yesterday, tears down to-day what it 
built up yesterday ; the other is a sentient personality, that 
feels delight, suffers, rejoices, sorrows, feels satisfaction or 
constraint, desires, fears, without criticism, investigation or 
search for solution. Both these personalities are connected 
with our constitution and make-up, and we cannot escape 
from either of them. What, then, is to hinder the first per- 
sonality from being scholarly, inquisitive, critical, and the 
second believing, assured, aspiring towards the highest ideal ? ' 2 
In accordance with this principle he affirmed in the course of 
his trial that, as a Muslim, he did not doubt the historical 
existence of Abraham and Ishmael and everything recorded 
in the Kur'an concerning them, but, as a scholar, he is com- 
pelled to have strict regard for the methods of investigation 
and not assent to their historical existence except as estab- 
lished by scientific evidence. 3 

It is difficult to find definite points of contact with the 
teachings of Muhammad e Abduh in the works of Taha 
Husain. The latter entered the Azhar after 'Abduh had 
severed his connexion with that institution. He doubtless 
knew something of the principles of 'Abduh, whose revolt 
against the Azhar methods of his own day may have 

1 AUadab al-jahiH, 2nd ed., 1245/1927, p. 67. 

2 Quoted in Al-Manar, xxviii. 377, in the report of the findings of the 
Court. 3 Ibid., p. 377. 

The Younger Egyptian Modernists 259 

encouraged and inspired Taha's own tendency to independent 
thought. Yet, if even that much be true, his later studies in 
Greek and French literature in addition to Arabic, and all 
that he has learned of the technique of modern criticism from 
Western scholars, has so far predominated in moulding his 
thought and attitude that he does not acknowledge any con- 
nexion with the teachings of 'Abduh. It is certain, at any 
rate, that with the 'Abduh movement to-day, as represented 
by Al-Mandr, he has not the slightest connexion. To Rashid 
Rida, Dr. Taha and those of like faith with him represent an 
aggressive atheism that is usurping the institutions of the 
country and the very profession of teaching, in order to 
poison the minds of the young men of the country with their 
unbelief. He considers that the statements of Dr. Taha in his 
latest book are only the theories and deductions of the writer, 
without genuine proof, by means of which ' he has established 
his apostasy from Islam, and proved that he was estimating 
the results of his actions and their evil effects upon Muslims 
without concern'. 1 And it is doubtless to Dr. Taha's books 
that he refers when he discusses what he calls the modern 
propaganda in Egypt on behalf of unbelief, one of the agencies 
of which is 'books which defame the scholars of Islam like 
Al-Ghazzali and Ibn Khaldiin, whom European scholars 
value highly, and bring forward those who were accused of 
atheism and unbelief, like Al-Ma'arri, and sing the praises of 
the culture of those who were notorious for immorality and 
debauchery, such as Abu Nuwas'. 2 

'All <Abd al-Bdzik (1888- ). 

The position of 'Ali ' Abd al-Razik belongs somewhere be- 
tween that of his brother Mustafa and that of Taha Husain. 
Not so radical as the latter nor so sceptical in matters of 
religion, he has not, on the other hand, shown as marked 
a . tendency as his brother to adhere to the teachings of 
Muhammad * Abduh ; for, although he has been influenced, to 
a certain extent, by f Abduh 's ideas, he has advanced beyond 
them in many essential respects. 

Born in a village of Middle Egypt in the year 1888, 'All 

1 ALManar, xxviii. 379. 2 Ibid., p. 119, 

260 The Younger Egyptian Modernists 

entered the Azhar University when he was about ten years 
of age. His early years in the institution were thus the closing 
years of Muhammad 'Abduh's connexion with it. But his 
relation to 'Abduh would probably have been slight, because 
of his youth and his status as a beginner, had not the friend- 
ship which existed between his father and 'Abduh, and the 
additional fact that his elder brother was a pupil of the latter, 
secured opportunities for personal acquaintance which he 
would otherwise not have enjoyed: and he himself was a 
pupil of 'Abduh for a short time. He also studied canon law 
under Shaikh Ahmad Abu Khatwah, a friend of ' Abduh, and. 
like him, a former pupil of Jamal al-Dm, although less decisive 
in his adherence to his principles. 1 Beginning with the year 
1910, he attended lectures, for a year or two, in the new 
Egyptian University. Most important among the lectures 
attended were those of Professor Nallino, on the history of 
Arabic literature, and those of Professor Santillana on the 
history of philosophy. The final certificate was secured from 
the Azhar University in the year 1911. During the following 
year, he lectured in the Azhar on rhetoric and the history of 
its development as an Arabic science. 2 In the latter part of 
the same year, 1912, he went to England, and after a year 
spent in London in the study of English, he entered Oxford 
University, to pursue his studies for a degree in Economics 
and Political Science. After something more than a year's 
residence, however, he was compelled by the outbreak of the 
Great War to return to Egypt. 

Following his return, he was, in 1915, appointed a judge in 
the Sharfah Courts, in which capacity he served first in 
Alexandria, and later in other provincial courts. During his 
residence in Alexandria, he lectured in the Mosque School, 
which is affiliated with the Azhar University, on Arabic 
literature and Islamic history. In the meantime, he had been 
pursuing investigations in connexion with the history of the 
Muslim judiciary, and, in 1925, he published the preliminary 
results of his investigations in a work on the Caliphate, 

1 Cf. above, p. 207. 

2 These lectures were published in 1912, under the title, Amall 'All x Abd 
al-Rdzikfi Him al-bayan wa tarikhihL 

The Younger Egyptian Modernists 261 

entitled Islam and the Fundamentals of Authority. 1 In this 
work he advocated the abolition of the Caliphate, and in the 
course of his argument took a number of other advanced 
positions which thoroughly aroused all the orthodox element 
of the country, especially the religious leaders. The greatest 
interest in the book was aroused, controversy raged concern- 
ing it, and on all sides the author was bitterly assailed. In a 
short time a number of books in reply had made their ap- 
pearance, among them one by the former Grand Mufti of 
Egypt, Shaikh Muhammad Bakhlt. 2 

The results so far as the author was concerned, did not all 
evaporate in discussions and invectives, however bitter. On 
August 12, 1925, a court consisting of twenty-four of the 
leading 'Ulama of the Azhar, with the Shaikh al-Azhar at 
their head, met in conclave to hear the charges which were 
preferred against Shaikh c All and his book. The Court 
rendered a unanimous decision confirming the charges of un- 
orthodoxy in what he had written and declaring him guilty, 
on that account, of conduct 'unbecoming the character of an 
' alim ' ; sentence was therefore passed, dismissing him from 
the body of the 'Ulama, and directing that his name be 
expunged from the records of the Azhar and the other mosque 
schools, that he be dismissed from office and henceforth be 
incapacitated from filling any office, religious or otherwise. 3 
The case was also considered by a disciplinary court of the 
Shari'ah Court Judiciary, to whom Shaikh c Ali had appealed 
on the ground that the Court of the Azhar did not have 
jurisdiction in the matter, because the expression, 'conduct 
unbecoming an 'alim', refers to matters of personal conduct. 
But the Court sustained the jurisdiction of the former court, 
since the 'expression was not limited in any way and might 
logically be held to include matters of belief as well as 
conduct'. When Shaikh 'All pleaded the right of 'absolute 

1 Al'Islam wa usul al-hukm, Cairo, 'Misr' Press, 1344/1925. Two later 
editions have been published. 

* Haktkat al-Isldm wa usul al-hukm ('The Truth about Islam and the 
Fundamentals of Authority'), Cairo, 1344/1926. 

3 gukm hay* at al-'ulamd jl kitab al-Isldm wa usul al-hukm ('Decision of 
the Court of the Azhar l Ulama re the book "Islam and the Fundamentals 
of Authority'"), 2nd ed., 1344/1925-6, pp. 31, 32. 

262 The Younger Egyptian Modernists 

freedom of belief as guaranteed by the constitution of 1922, 
the Court replied that the guarantee of freedom was limited 
by the clause 'within the limits of the law ', and could only be 
held to include freedom from civil or political disability on 
account of beliefs, and the right to maintain any belief that 
one chooses, so long as it is ' within the limits of the law ' ; 
moreover, the constitution does not interfere with the right of 
special regulation by such bodies as the Azhar concerning its 
'Ulama, or by the courts concerning their employees. The 
decision of the Azhar Court was therefore sustained; and, 
since by that decision Shaikh 'All is no longer to be considered 
'one of the men of religion', and the position of judge in the 
Sharf ah Courts being a religious office, the decision of removal 
from office was also confirmed. 1 

In this fashion the religious leaders of the country have 
testified to the new and startling character of the ideas to 
which Shaikh ( AlI has given expression, and have shown, 
further, that they fear the results of 'the dangerous way of 
thinking to which he has turned aside '. 2 The essential points 
in which his ideas differ from the orthodox doctrines are 
indicated in the following brief summary. 3 

First, the Caliphate as an Islamic institution should be 
abolished. In theory, he shows, the Caliphate is regarded as 
a vice-regency on behalf of the Prophet in the two spheres of 
religious and secular life, held by those who have succeeded 
him in the government of the Islamic community, and con- 
ferring upon them absolute authority in both spheres, except 
that they are required to rule in accordance with the" Divine 
Law (SharVah) of Islam. But when the proofs, which are 
commonly adduced in support of this institution, are ex- 
amined, they are found to be insufficient to sustain the claim 
of this specialized form of government. The first two sources 
of proof, the Kur'an and the Traditions, yield only general 
and indefinite statements that, rightly interpreted, afford no 
support. The third proof, that of the Agreement of Muslim 
public opinion from the earliest times, in believing that the 

1 Decision of the Court, pp. 37-40. 
3 Ibid., p. 19. 

3 Lamraens, in I/Islam: Croyances et Institutions, Bairut, 1926, pp. 
226-7, gives a brief summary of 'All's views. 

The Younger Egyptian Modernists 263 

setting up of a caliph is a duty incumbent upon the Muslim 
people as a whole, cannot, he argues, be established as an 
historical fact. For there have always been movements of 
dissent and rebellion against the Caliphate, of varying degrees 
of strength and importance, from the days of 'All, the fourth 
Caliph, to the Committee of Union and Progress in Turkey. 
Such exceptions invalidate the idea of the Agreement. The 
fourth proof, that the material welfare of the Muslims and 
the maintenance of the religious cultus depend upon the 
existence of the Caliphate, is true only in so far as some form 
of government is necessary, which is a generally acknowledged 
fact ; but it is not true of the Caliphate as denned by the 
Muslim doctors. ' It is not the will of God that the strength or 
weakness of Islam should be bound up with one particular 
form of government nor one special order of rulers ; nor does 
He will that the moral progress or deterioration of the 
Muslims should be the pawn of the Caliphate nor at the mercy 
of the Caliphs.' 1 'We have no need then 5 , he concludes, 'for 
this Caliphate, neither in the affairs of our religious life, nor 
in those of our civil life. For the Caliphate has always been, 
and continues to be, a misfortune to Islam and to the Muslims 
and the source of evil and corruption.' 2 

Second, the very idea of the Caliphate, afi both a civil and 
religious hegemony in succession to and on behalf of the 
Prophet, rests upon a mistaken conception of the Prophet's 
purpose and the nature of the Apostolic office which he filled. 
It is very difficult to ascertain anything definite concerning 
the form of the Prophet's government, he cautions, because 
of the obscurity which surrounds the whole subject. Regard- 
ing the judiciary, it is certain that some cases of litigation were 
referred to him for his decision ; but the traditions concerning 
them are 'not sufficient to give us a clear picture of such action 
nor of what procedure it may have followed, if, indeed, it 
followed any fixed procedure'. 3 Other important depart- 
ments of government are equally shrouded in obscurity or 
lacking entirely. Various explanations that may be given to 
account for this significant fact are considered ; but the only 

1 Al-Islam wa usul al-hukm, 2nd ed., 1925, p. 38. 

2 Ibid., p. 36. 3 Ibid., p. 40. 

264 The Younger Egyptian Modernists 

explanation which is acceptable to the author is that Muham- 
mad did not attempt to found a state, nor was it part of his 
apostolic mission to do so. ' Muhammad was but an apostle, 
sent on behalf of a religious summons, one pertaining en- 
tirely to religion and unmarred by any taint of monarchy or 
of summons to a political state ; and he possessed neither 
kingly rule nor government, and he was not charged with the 
task of founding a kingdom in the political sense, as this word 
and its synonyms are generally understood.' 1 His authority 
was both universal and absolute ; but it was ' the authority of 
the prophetic office, not the authority of sultans \ 2 That the 
distinction between the two kinds of authority, the religious 
and the civil, the one exercised by the Prophet, the other not, 
might be kept clear, the author repeats his warning that the 
reader 'should not confuse the two kinds of authority, nor 
the two kinds of supremacy : the supremacy of the Apostle as 
an apostle, and the supremacy of kings and princes'. 3 

It is true, the author admits, that there were present in 
the Prophet's government certain outward forms that rightly 
belong to the government of a modern state ; but, in total, 
they are but a small part of what a state should have ; 4 and 
they are, after all, not measures of state, but only 'various 
measures to which Muhammad had recourse for the establish- 
ment of his religion and the reinforcement of his summons'. 5 
Thus the author lays the foundation for the separation of 
Church and State in the essential nature of Islam. 
' Third, since the authority of Muhammad was spiritual and 
not political, and the unity which he came to establish was 
religious not political, the conception of a 'succession' to his 
authority falls of itself. * He was a prophet and an apostle, 
sent for a peculiar mission? This mission he performed in the 
completion of the religion of Islam and the accomplishment 
of the religious unity of his followers. His mission was thus 
completed and his work came to an end with his death. There 
was, therefore, no necessity for a religious leader to succeed 
him. He had exercised no political authority and therefore 
transmitted none ; that this was his intention is evident from 

1 Al-IslamimusiUal-hukm, 2nded., 1925, pp. 64, 65. 3 Ibid., p. 69. 
3 Ibid., p. 69. * 4 Ibid., p. 84. 6 Ibid., p. 79. 

The Younger Egyptian Modernists 265 

the fact that he named no successor. After his death, the 
Muslims realized that they could not return to their former 
state and that they must organize some form of government, 
and this they proceeded to do by choosing Abu. Bakr for the 
position of command. But his rule was not in any sense 
religious ; he was a political ruler simply, who had been chosen 
to govern the new Arab state that had come into existence 
by the action of the Muslims. 1 For particular reasons operat- 
ing at the time, the title ' caliph' was applied to Abu Bakr 
and his successors ; and in time a religious significance came 
to attach to the title, which was, for obvious reasons, fostered 
by the Caliphs themselves. 2 

Fourth, it follows from the spiritual character of the Pro- 
phet's authority as just described, that the Divine Law which 
he brought for the guidance of his followers was concerned 
only with religious affairs, intended to regulate the relation 
between God and man ; it did not have in view the regulation 
of civil affairs. 'All that Islam prescribed as law, and all that 
the Prophet imposed upon the Muslims in the way of regula- 
tions and rules and moral principles, had nothing at all to do 
with methods of political rule, nor with the regulations of a 
civil state.' 3 All the prescriptions of Islam constitute 'a re- 
ligious code only, entirely concerned with the service of God 
and the religious welfare of mankind, nothing else'. 4 As for 
civil laws, these are left to men, to develop according to their 
knowledge and experience. ' The world is of too little concern 
in the sight of God, for Him to appoint for its management 
any other arrangement than the minds which He has be- 
stowed upon us.' 5 Thus the author frees Muslim civil life 
from the incubus of the vast body of canon law, with its 
sacrosanct, unchangeable character, not by reforming it, as 
Al-Mandr, which agrees with him regarding the evil effects 
of its rigidity, desires, but in abandoning it entirely as a civil 
code. Thus, the author's final conclusion is : * There is nothing 
in the religion (of Islam) to prevent the Muslims . . . from 
tearing down that ancient order to which they have been 
subjugated and under which they have been humbled ; and 

1 Al-Islam wa usui al-hukm, 2nd ed., 1925, pp. 92 sqq. 

2 Ibid., pp. 102 sqq. ' 3 Ibid., p. 84. 4 Ibid., p. 85. 5 Ibid., p. 79. 

266 The Younger Egyptian Modernists 

from building up the rules of their kingdom and the order of 
their government upon the most recent conclusions arrived at 
by the minds of men, and the most assured results which the 
experiments of the nations have indicated to be the best 
principles of government.' 1 

All that Shaikh 'All has said with reference to abolition of 
the Caliphate is manifestly contrary to the general Muslim 
belief, which has cherished the doctrine of the Caliphate to the 
present day, although the historic Caliphate disappeared cen- 
turies ago. Shaikh 'All has, in fact, so far as his denial of the 
Caliphate is concerned, placed himself 'in the category of the 
Kharijites, not of the majority of the Muslims', as the Azhar 
Court declared. 2 In this respect, it is in place here to point 
out, he is equally opposed to the position of Al-Manar, which 
is thoroughly orthodox in the matter of the Caliphate. 
Rashid Rida, in his book on the Caliphate, appeals to the 
support of the Kur'an, Traditions and Agreement, in the 
usual manner. 3 He is accustomed, it is true, to make much 
of the ideas of popular election of the Caliph, and of 'repre- 
sentative government' and ' democracy 5 , ideas potent in 
present-day political thought, all of which were anticipated in 
the principles of Islam, according to his interpretation ; but 
all of these are to be realized through retention of the 
Caliphate. He proposes to the Turks that they consider their 
present form of government, the republic, as only temporary, 
and that the matter of the Caliphate be left to the decision of 
a Congress on the Caliphate, to consist of representatives from 
all Muslim countries. 4 Such a Congress did convene in Cairo 
on May 13, 1926. Rashid Rida laid before this Congress a 
'programme of the Caliphate suitable for the present age', 
which would limit the autocratic power of the Caliph and 
secure the general acceptance of the Caliphate by all Muslim 
countries. Among its proposals were : the founding of a school 
for the training of the candidates for the Caliphate, and of 
men authoritatively informed in matters of government 
(mujtahids) ; the statutes and the organization of the state 

1 Al-Isldm wa usul al-hukm, 2nd ed., 1925, p. 103. 

2 Decision of the Court, p. 24. 

3 Al-khilafah aw al-imdmah al-'uzma, Cairo, 1341/1922, pp. 9 sqq. The 
material first appeared in Al-Mandr, vols, xxiii and xxiv. 4 Ibid., p. 141. 

The Younger Egyptian Modernists 267 

within the domains of the Caliphate to be according to the 
Divine Law of Islam, revised according to the principles of 
Al-Mandr; Muslim nations that are not independent and 
therefore unable to render political allegiance to the Caliph, 
to be related to the Caliphate only in their religious affairs, 
such as the purely religious support and defence of Islam, 
suppression of innovations, type of religious education, &c, 
with avoidance of political entanglements. 1 

In the matter of the separation of Church and State and the 
abandonment of the system of canon law as a civil code, * All 
'Abd al-Razik is equally at variance with Muslim thought, 
which believes that Muhammad was the founder of a state as 
well as of a religion, and that the system of canon law is 
essentially a Divine enactment, applicable to civil life as well 
as to religious matters. The Azhar Court expressed its sense 
of the peculiarity of Shaikh 'All's view by saying that 'he is 
satisfied with a way of thinking that is all his own'. 2 Muham- 
mad 'Abduh, with all his emphasis upon the spiritual char- 
acter of religious exercises, defended the union of the civil 
and religious authority in Islam, 3 and favoured retention of 
the essentials of the system of canon law, although with far- 
reaching reforms ; while Al-Mandr states explicitly and un- 
equivocally, 'the assertion that the Government and the 
State should be separated from religion, is one that neces- 
sitates the blotting of Islamic authority out of existence, and 
abrogating entirely the Islamic Shari'ah'. Were Muslims to 
adopt the Christian position on the matter 'we should have 
laid aside half of our religion'. 4 

If any relation exists between the thought of Shaikh 'All 
and the doctrines of Muhammad ' Abduh, it is to be sought for 
in a certain spiritual and intellectual affinity, rather than in 
individual ideas. 5 His historical approach to his subject, 
through a study of Islamic beginnings, which is not dissimilar 
in method to that of 'Abduh in the historical introduction to 

1 Al-Mandr, xxvii. 138-43. 2 Decision of the Court, p. 19. 

3 e.g. in Al-Islam wa al-Nasrdniyyak, pp. 61 sqq. 

4 Al-Manar, ii. 357, 358. 

B In the private letter previously mentioned, Shaikh 'All acknowledges 
that he may be indebted to a certain extent to the works of 'Abduh, which 
he formerly read and greatly admired. 

268 The Younger Egyptian Modernists 

his Risalat al-tawhid ; his conception of Islam as a spiritual 
religion, although he dissociates it from all political con- 
nexions, which c Abduh did not do; his admission of the 
reasonable possibility of a universal religion, which embraces 
all men in a religious unity, apart, however, from political 
unity ; his general tendency to differ in thought and attitude 
from 'those who know religion only as a hard and fast form ' ; r 
above all, the independence of his thought and the breadth 
of his view ; these and other points of resemblance seem to 
indicate that he has been definitely influenced by 'Abduh 
and has imbibed much of his spirit. On the other hand, his 
more liberal and revolutionary points of view are unquestion- 
able. The influence of Western scholarship is seen in his 
critical methods and in his impatience with the methods of 
Islamic historians and biographers ; and also in his general 
treatment of the Caliphate. In his attempt to treat his 
sources in a critical and scholarly manner, and in the conces- 
sions which he is willing to make to modern conditions, he 
shows his affinity with the more radical group of Modernists 
represented by Dr. Taha Husain. To Al-Manar, he has be- 
come 'an enemy of religion 3 , although formerly he had been 
' counted as a friend and helper in opposing unbelief and vice \ 2 
On the whole, it may be concluded with some confidence 
that 'All e Abd al-Razik belongs in a spiritual and intellectual 
succession with Muhammad 'Abduh; and that he and his 
brother Mustafa, while exhibiting characteristic differences in 
interpretation, the one from the other, together represent 
a modern and liberal development of the movement which 
'Abduh inaugurated. In regard to other members of the 
Modern school, of whom Dr. Taha Husain may be considered 
representative, it is not possible to reach such definite con- 
clusions. Ad the same time, much can be discovered in their 
aims, ideals and outlook that indicates their indebtedness to 
*Abduh and the work which he accomplished; 3 and it is 
perhaps not overstating the case to say that the very existence 
of the Modern school derives in a vital and fundamental sense 
from him. 

1 Al-Isldm wa usul al-hukm, 2nd ed., 1925, p. 47. 

2 Al-Manar, xxviL 717. 3 Cf. Gibb, i. 758. 



The following works, in addition to those referred to in the foot- 
notes, have been consulted. Abbreviations are noted for those 
works that are most frequently referred to in the text. 


Per -s. Rev. The Persian Revolution, E. G. Browne, 1909, biography 
in Chapter I. 

Enc. Islam. Encyclopedia of Islam, article 'Djamal al-Din al- 
Afghani' by Goldziher — with bibliography. 

History of Arabic Journalism ('Tarikh al-sahafah al- ( arabiyyah'), 
by Vicomte Filib di Tarazi, Bairiit, Al-Adabiyyah Press, 1913, 
pp. 293-9. 

Mashdhlr. Eastern Celebrities ('Mashahir al-shark'), by Jirjl 
Zaidan, vol. ii, pp. 52-61. This account is reproduced from the 
Arabic periodical Al-Hildl, April 1, 1897. The same account 
appears also as the introduction to the Arabic translation of 
Jamal's work, Refutation of the Materialists ('Al-radd *ala al- 
dahriyyin'), 1925 edition, Cairo. Other editions contain dif- 
ferent biographies. 

AVUrwah al- Wuthkah, latest edition, Cairo, 1346/1928, biography 
of Jamal by Mustafa 'Abd al-Razik, pp. 1-14. 

Predestination (' Al-kacla wa al-kadar J ), by Jamal, brief biography 
in introduction. Cairo, no date. 

Al-Mandr, vols, i-xxviii, frequent references. Articles by Jamal. 

Biographies of Muhammad 'Abduh all give some account of Jamal. 
See below. 


Koranauslegung. Die Richtungen der Islamischen Koranauslegung 

Goldziher, pp. 320-70. Deals with 'Abduh's interpretation of 

the ICur'an but contains also a valuable summary of his ideas. 

Beitrdge. Muhammad Abduh: sein Leben und seine theologisch- 

phihsophische Gedanlcenwelt, Horten, in Beitrdge zur Kenntniss 

des Orients, vol. xiii, 1915, pp. 85-114, on biography; vol. xiv, 

1916, pp. 74-128, on doctrine. 

Michel, Risdlah. Cheikh Mohammed Abdou: Rissalat al Tawhid, 

B. Michel et le Cheikh Moustapha Abdel Razik, Paris, 1925. 

270 Bibliography 

Translation into French of 'Abduh's work on theology. The 
Introduction, pp. ix-lxxxv, contains a valuable account of his 
life and doctrines. 

Al-Mandr, vol. viii, 1905, by index, biography by Muhammad 
Rashid Rida. All the volumes contain articles by Muhammad 
'Abduh, references to his life, doctrines, &c. 

TdriJch. Tdrlkh al-ustadh al-imdm al-shaikh Muhammad K Abduh, 
biography by Muhammad Rashid Rida, in three volumes. Vol. 
ii, containing his principal articles and briefer works, collected 
from various sources, was published 1908. Vol. hi, containing 
biographical and eulogistic accounts which appeared at the time 
of his death, letters and telegrams of condolence, &c, published 
on the fifth anniversary of his death, 1910. Later editions. 
Vol. i, pp. 1134, containing full biography, published latter 
part of 1931. Al-Manar Press, Cairo. 

Mashahir, vol. i, pp. 281 sqq. The same account appears in History 
of Arabic Journalism, pp. 287-93. 

Printed Report. Al-ihtifdl bi ihyd dhikrd al-ustadh al-imdm al- 
shaikh Muhammad *Abduh, printed report of addresses on 
occasion of seventeenth anniversary of 'Abduh's death, July 11, 
1922. On biography of 'Abduh, pp. 10-28, by Mustafa f Abd 
al-Razik. Same in Al-Mandr, xxiii. 520-30. 

Weekly Siydsah, June 4, 1927, article by Mustafa ( Abd al-Razik. 

AVVrwah al-Wuthlcah, Cairo, 1346/1928, pp. 15-22, biography of 
'Abduh, by Mustafa 'Abd al-Razik. 

L' I slam: Croyances et Institutions, H. Lammens, BairQt, 1926, 
pp. 223 sqq. and 229-34, brief discussion of Modernism in Egypt 
and the work of Muhammad 'Abduh and Al-Mandr. 

Secret History of Egypt, W. S. Blunt, London, 1907, New York, 
1922, for 'Abduh's relation to the 'Arabl Rebellion. 

Modem Egypt, Cromer, vol. ii, pp. 179-81, for Cromer's estimate 
of 'Abduh. 

Les Penseurs de V Islam, Baron Carra de Vaux, Paris, 1926, vol. v, 
'Les sectes — Le Liberalisme Moderne', pp. 254-67, brief bio- 
graphy of 'Abduh, his reforms in the Azhar, and his controversy 
with M. Hanotaux. In the same volume: on Shaikh Tantawl 
Jawhari, pp. 275-84 ; on Mustafa Kamil Pasha and Egyptian 
Nationalism, pp. 285-96 ; on Sa'ad Pasha Zaghlul and recent 
political developments in which he was concerned, pp. 296- 

Gibb, Studies in Contemporary Arabic Literature. Three studies by 
H. A. R. Gibb, reprinted from the Bulletin of the School of 

Bibliography 271 

Oriental Studies, London Institution, 1928-30. I. The Nine- 
teenth Century. II. Manfaluti and the 'New Style'. III. 
Egyptian Modernists. Valuable account of the development 
of modern Arabic literature and characterizations of some of 
the leading writers. Discussion of Muhammad 'Abduh and his 
Khemiri, Leaders in Contemporary Arabic Literature, Tahir 
Khemiri and Professor Dr. G. Kampffmeyer, 1930, biographical 
sketches of some of the leading writers, their works and their 
views. Very useful. 

The principal works of Muhammad ( Abduh have been mentioned 
in the preceding pages but for the sake of convenience are re- 
capitulated here. A list of his writings in approximate chrono- 
logical order is given in Al-Mandr, vol. viii, p. 492. Lists are 
found also in the Introduction to the French translation of 
Risalat al-tawlyid by M. Michel and Shaikh Mustafa *Abd al- 
Razik, pp. lxxxvii, lxxxviii, and in Professor M. Horten's account 
of the life and teachings of Muhammad 'Abduh in Beitrage zur 
Kenntniss des Orients, vol. xiv, pp. 83-5. The latter list is not 
complete as it mentions only the works which were utilized by 
the writer in compiling his review of the ideas of Muhammad 
'Abduh. The list of M. Michel is mainly followed in the list given 
here as it is practically complete, with the exception of one or 
two items included below. 

1. Risalat al-wdriddt, 'Treatise consisting of Mystic Inspirations'. 
Cairo, 1290/1874, reprinted in Tdrikh al-Ustadh al-Imdm, 
vol. ii, pp. 1-25. Cf. above, pp. 40-41. 

2. Hdshiyah 'aid Shark al-Dawdn% li al-'aka'id al-'Atfudiyyah, * Col- 
lection of glosses on "The Commentary of Al-Dawani on 
Al-'A^ud's work on The Articles of Belief" '. Cairo, 1292/1876, 
reprinted Cairo, 1322/1904. Cf. above, p. 41. 

3. Al-radd 'old al-dahriyyin, 'Reply to the Materialists', trans- 
lation from the Persian into Arabic of the work of Al-Sayyid 
Jamal al-Din al-Afghani. 1st edition, Bairut, 1303/1886, 2nd 
edition, Cairo, 1312/1895, reprinted several times, the most 
recent 1344/1925. It contains a brief biography of Jamal al- 
Din, reprinted from the magazine Al-Hildl, which is the same 
as that which appears in Mashdhir al- Shark, vol. ii, pp. 52-61. 
Cf. above, p. 15, n. 1. 

4. Sharh nahj al-baldghdh, 'Commentary on "The Highway of 

272 Bibliography 

Eloquence"', a work on rhetoric. Cf. above, p. 65, n. 2. 
1st edition, Bairut, 1302/1885, reprinted several times at 

5. Shark makdmdt Badi* al-zaman al-Hamadhdni, 'Commentary 
on "The Assemblies" of Badf al-zaman al-Hamadham'. Cf. 
above, p. 65, n. 3. Bairut, 1306/1889. 

6. Bisdlat al-tawkld, 'Treatise on the Unity of God', a work on 
theology. 1st edition, Cairo, 1315/1897, 2nd edition, with notes 
by Muhammad Rashid Rida, 1326/1908. Further notes were 
added in later editions. The 5th edition, Cairo, 1346/1926-7, 
was carefully revised and further notes added. Cf. above, 
p. 76, n. 3. 

7. Shark Kitdb al-basWir al-Nusairiyyah fl Him al-mantify lasnif 
al-1cd4i al-Zdhid Zain al-Dln 'Umar ibn Sakldn al-Sawi, 'Com- 
mentary on "Results of Reflective Insight in the Science of 
Logic attributed to Nusair" by Al-kaoli Zain al-din'. Edited 
for the first time and commented on by Muhammad f Abduh. 
Cairo, 1316/1898. 

8. Takrirfi isldk al-makdkim al-sharHyyak, 'Report on Reform of 
the Sharfah Courts'. Cairo, 1318/1900. It appears also in 
Al-Manar, vol. ii. Cf. above, p. 81, n. 6. 

9. Al-Isldm wa al-radd 'aid muntakidik, 'Islam and the Reply to 
its Critics'. A series of articles which appeared in 1900 in the 
newspaper Al-Mu'ayyad in reply to articles by M. Hanotaux 
which appeared in Le Journal de Paris. Cf. above, pp. 86 sqq. 
Translated into French by M. Tala'at Bey Harb and published 
under the title, L' Europe et VI slam, Cairo, 1905. Collected and 
published in Arabic under the above title, together with a 
number of other articles by Muhammad f Abduh and others, 
1327/1909. Cf. above, p. 89, n. 1. Reprinted since, most 
recently 1343/1924, 1925. 

10. Al-Isldm wa al-Nasrdniyyah ma' al-'Ilm wa al-Madaniyyak, 
' Islam and Christianity and their Respective Attitudes towards 
Learning and Civilization ' . A series of articles which appeared 
first in Al-Mandr, 1901, in reply to articles in the magazine 
Al-Jdmi'aJi, by Farah Antiin. Printed separately, Cairo, 
1320/1902. Reprinted since, 3rd edition, 1341/1922, 1923. 
Cf. above, p. 90, n. 1. 

11. Al-Mukhassas, a work on Arabic philology, by Ibn Sidah, in 
17 volumes. Edited by Muhammad 'Abduh, with the help of 
Shaikh Muhammad al-Shanklti and others, Cairo, 1316/1896 
onwards. Muhammad 'Abduh also edited Asrdr al-baldgkah 

Bibliography 273 

and DaWil al-Vjdz, by ( Abd al-^Cahir al-Jurjani. Cf. above, 
p. 85, nn. 6 and 8. 

12. Tafsir surat al-fdtifyah, 'Commentary on the first chapter of 
the Ifrrr'an', entitled Al-fdtihah. Cairo, 1323/1905, 2nd edition, 

13. Tafslr surat al-'asr, 'Commentary on Chapter 103 of the 
]£ur'an', entitled AVasr ('The Afternoon'). Printed first in 
Al-Mandr. Printed separately, Cairo, 1321/1903, reprinted 

14. Tafslr juz* 'amma, Commentary on the last thirty-seven 
chapters of the Pvur'an, 78 to 114 inclusive. Printed first in 
Al-Mandr. Printed separately, Cairo, 1322/1904. 

15. Tafslr al-Kur'an al-hakim, 'Commentary on the I£ur'an', 
otherwise known as Tafslr al-Mandr ('The Manar Com- 
mentary'). Cf. above, p. 76, n. 3. This Commentary was to 
have embraced the whole Kur'an but was carried during 
Muhammad 'Abduh's lifetime only as far as Chapter 4, verse 125 
(Surat al-nisd). It has since been carried by Muhammad 
Rashid Rida as far as Surat al-tawbah, Chapter 9, verse 93. 
Ten volumes have thus far appeared, the last printed 1350/1931. 
Vol. 1, which as first printed was not uniform in style with 
later volumes, has been finally revised and enlarged to agree 
with them and has appeared November, 1927. 

In addition to the above works which were published, Muham- 
mad Rashid Rida mentions in his list a number of works 
written by Muhammad e Abduh but never published. They are 
as follows : 

16. Bisalahfi uxihdat al-wujud, ' Treatise on the Unity of Existence ' . 
Cf. above, p. 41, n. 1. 

17. Tdrikk Ismd'U Bdshd, 'History of (the Khedive) Isma'il 
Pasha'. Muhammad Rashid RI<jla says that he had been told 
that Muhammad ( Abduh had written such a history but the 
work was unknown to him. Al-Mandr, viii. 492. 

18. Falsafat al-ijtimd* wa al-tdrikh, 'Philosophy of Society and 
History '. This work embodied his lectures on the ' Prolegomena * 
of Ibn Khaldun which were delivered in the Dar al-'Uhim, 
1878-9. The manuscript was lost when he was removed from 
the school and compelled by the Khedive to retire to his village. 
Cf. above, p. 46. 

19. Nizam al-tarbiyah al-Misriyyah, 'The System of Education in 

20. TarlTeh asbdb al-thawrah al-'Ardbiyyah, 'History of the Causes 

274 Bibliography 

of the 'Arabi Rebellion 5 . This was not completed. Part of it is 
given in Tdrikh, i. 159 sqq. 

Account has been given in chapters II-IV of the numerous 
articles contributed by Muhammad 'Abduh to Al-Ahram and 
Al-Waka'i* al-Misriyyah ('Journal Officiel'), cf. pp. 37 sqq., and 
49 sqq. ; to Al-Urwah al-Wutklfah, cf. pp. 58 sqq. ; to Thamardt 
al~funun of Bairut, cf . p. 65, n. 4 ; to Al-Mu'ayyad and Al-Manar, 
cf. pp. 87 sqq., and 89 sqq. The most important of these 
articles have been collected and published by Muhammad Rashid 
Riola in vol. ii of his biography of Muhammad 'Abduh, Tdrikh 
al-Ustddh al-Imdm. 


'Abbas Hilml ('Abbas II), 71, 74, 78, 

211, 220, 222, 225, 226 
al-'AbbasI al-Mahdi, Muhammad, 

30, 43, 79 
'Abd al 'Al, leader in ' ArabI Rebel- 
lion, 51 
'Abd al-'AzIz, Sultan of Morocco, 86 
'Abd al-Hamid, Sultan of Turkey, 

6, 10, 12, 177, 185," 212 
'Abd al-Sadir al-Maghribi, 247 
'Abd al-^adir al-Rafi'i, 79 
'Abd al-Karim Salman, 46, 72, 78, 

207, 208 
'Abd al-Khahk al-Hifnl, Muham- 
mad, 79 
'Abd Allah Pasha Fikri, 214 
'Abd Allah 'Inan, Muhammad, 254 
'Abd al-Malik Hamzah Bey, 243 
'Abd al-Rahman al-Barkukl, 215 
' Abd al-Rahman I£ara'ah, 208 
'Abd al-Rahman al-Kutb, 72 
'Abd al-Razik, 'AH, 3, 208, 215, 

249, 251, 259 sqq., 267, 268 
'Abd al-Razik, Mustafa, 2, 104, 215, 

249, 251 sqq., 268 
'Abd al-Razik, Hasan Pasha, 93, 

223 251 
'Abduh, Hamudah Bey, 77, 101, 

112, 214 
'Abduh-Manar Party, 205. See 

Party, 'Manar', the 
'Abduh, Muhammad: 1, 111, 217, 
219, 221, 226, 227, 228, 230, 231, 
240, 250, 252, 258, 268; appoin- 
ted to 'Al-Waka'i' al-Misriyyah', 
46 ; attitude towards philosophy, 
122 sqq. ; attitude towards reason 
and science, 127 sqq, ; biblio- 
graphy on, 269 sqq. ; birth and 
early years, 19, 20; character and 
influence, 2, 93 sqq. ; completes 
studies, 43; connexion with Al- 
^Urwah al-Wutkkah, 9, 58 sqq. ; 
contrasted with Jamal, 61 sqq.; 
cured of $ufism, 32, 33; defence 
of Islam, 86 sqq. ; early newspaper 
articles, 37 sqq. ; efforts for liter- 
ary revival, 84, 85 ; exiled, 56 sqq. ; 
family, 18 ; final illness and death, 
91 sqq. ; first visit to Jamal, 33 ; 
Horten's estimate of, 105 sqq. ; in 
Bairut, 57, 64 sqq.; in Paris, 58; 
intellectual caution, 117 sqq.; 
interest in Sufism, 25, 31, 32; 
'kadi' in Native Tribunals, 68 

sqq.; knowledge of modern science, 
136 sqq. ; lectures at al-Azhar, 
44; marriage, 22, 66; member of 
Legislative Council, 82, 83; mem- 
ber of 'Muslim Benevolent Soci- 
ety', 83; Mufti, 79 sqq. ; ordered 
into retirement, 46 ; part in 'ArabI 
Movement, 52 sqq. ; popular 
opinion concerning, 97 sqq. ; re- 
forms in al-Azhar, 70 sqq. ; return 
from exile, 66; school days in 
Tanta, 21, 26; student at al- 
Azhar, 27 sqq. ; study with Jamal, 
34 sqq. ; teaching, 45 ; thought 
and activities, how related, 107 
sqq.; unfinished plans, 90; visit 
to Palermo, 66 ; works of, 271 sqq. 

'Abduh Party, 205. See Party, 
'Manar', the 

Abu Bakr, title 'Caliph' applied to, 

Abu Khatwah, Ahmad, 72, 93, 207, 
250, 260 

Abu Nuwas, 254, 259 

Abu Tamim Ma'add, Fatimid Sultan, 

Abu Turab, disciple of Jamal, 7 

'Acquisition', 87. See 'Kasb' 

al-Adab al-jdhUi ( 'Pre-Islamic Litera- 
ture, The'), 255 

Adam, Madame Juliet, 221 

al-'Adud, 124. See 'Adud al-Dln 

c Adud al-Dln al-XjI, 41 

al-Afkar (San Paolo), 101 

'Agreement,' of the Muslim Com- 
munity, appealed to, 164, 263, 

Ahmad al-Badawi, 189 

Ahmad al-Hanbali, Al-Sayyid, 78 

Ahmad ibn Hanbal, 203 

Ahmad Ibrahim, Shaikh, 214 

al-Ahram, 37, 88, 122, 135 

c Ain Shams, 96, 209, 215 

' al- Ajurrumiyyah ', see 'Sharh al- 
Kafrawi 'ala al-Ajurrumiyyah ' 

al-'Aka'id al^Adudiyyah, 41 

aW'Aka'id al-Nasafiyyah, 42 

Akif,M., 101 

al-'Akkad, 'Abbas Mahmud, 250 

aVAlam, 184 

'All Bey Fakhrl, 214 

'All Fahmi, 51 

'AH Pasha Mubarak, see Mubarak, 
'All Pasha 



'All Yusuf, 225, 226 

Alms, legal, devices for avoiding 
payment of, 171 

Amln, Kasim Bey, see 3£asim Bey 

al-Anbabi, Muhammad, 30, 71, 72 

Antun, Farah, 86 

Arabic (language): necessity for 
reform of, 39, 85 ; views of ' Abduh 
concerning, 115, 116; views of 
Taha Husain concerning, 257, 258 

'Arabic Literature, The History of ', 

'Arabic Sciences, The Society for 
the Revival of, 85 

'Arabi Movement, 51, 52, 62 

'Arab! Pasha, Ahmad, 51, 52, 53, 
64, 55, 220 

'ArabI Rebellion, the, 8, 48, 221 

Aristotle, 123 

Arnold, The Caliphate, 168 

Arts, the, views of Jamal on, 35 

Aryan, civilization, contrasted witli 
Semitic, 86, 87, 88 

Asbab al-nuzul, 201. See Revelation, 
occasions of 

al-Ash'ari, 40, 145, 148. See Ash- 
'arite theologians 

Ash'arite theologians, 140, 148, 162 

'Asim, Hasan Pasha, see Hasan 
Pasha 'Asim 

Averroes, see Ibn Rushd 

Avicenna, 94, 148. See Ibn Sina 

Awliyd, see Saints 

'al-Azhar'; 5, 21, 23, 46, 70, 71, 99, 
112, 214, 252, 253, 260; Admini- 
strative Committee of, 71, 73, 75, 
78, 90 ; attempts at reform of, 29 ; 
history of, 27 ; sciences taught in, 
27 sqq. 

* al-Azhar, Actions of Administrative 
Committee of, 1895-1905', (A'mal 
•majlis idarat al-Azhar), 73 

al-Azhar, Court of, decision regard- 
ing 'All 'Abd al-Razik, 261, 262, 

Azhar Group, of 'Abduh's followers, 
206 sqq. 

Badl'al-Zaman al HamadhanI, 65 
'Bahithat al-Badiyah', 212, 225, 

235, 237, 238. See Malak Hifni 

al-Baidawi, 124 
Bairut, 53, 66, 112; residence of 

'Abduh in, 64-6 
Bakhlt, Muhammad, 208, 261 
al-Bahurah, 214 
al-Banna, Shaikh, 79 

al-Basil, 'Abd al-Sattar, Pasha, 235 
al-Basyunl, Muhammad, 31 
Beauties of Nature and the Wonders 

of the World, The, 246 
Beauty of the World, The ('Jamal 

al-'Alam'), 246 
Bentham, 213 
al-Biblawi, Al-Sayyid 'AH, 72, 78, 

Bid' ah, 92, 189, 190, 203. See 

Biography of Muhammad 'Abduh, 

49, 164, 205. See Tarikh 
al-Bishri, 'Abd al-'AzIz, 215 
al-Bishrl, Taha, 215 
Bismarck, 167, 168 
Blunt, W. S., 4, 8, 10, 14, 53, 54, 56, 

61, 95, 208 
Bon, le, 213 
Browne, E. G., 6, 8, 14, 17, 33, 


Caliph, to enforce revised system 
of canon law, 194 

Caliph, Ottoman ; ' Abduh's attitude 
towards, 65 ; relation to ' Islamic 
Society', 183 

Caliphate; congress on, 266; ortho- 
dox views on, 208, 266 ; views of 
'Abduh on, 62 ; views of ' Ali ' Abd 
al-Razik on, 262 sqq. 

Caliphate, Ottoman, attitude of 
'Abduh to, 61 ; attitude of Jamal 
to, 13 ; Nationalist hopes of Egypt 
based on, 220 

Caliphate, The, Arnold, 168 

Caliphate, The ('Al-Khilafah aw 
al-imamah al-'uzmah'), 193 

Castri, di, Count, 213 

Cherif Pasha, 53 

Christ, crucifixion of, denied, 242 

Christianity, compared with Islam, 
87, 88, 89, 175 

'Commentary', of 'Abduh, on the 
liur'an: character of, 110 sqq., 
131 sqq., 189, 199 sqq.; disap- 
proval of cult of saints, 163; 
emphasis of, on prophecy, 155; 
published in Al-Manar, 181, 198, 

'Commentary, Manar, The 1 , 198 
sqq., 20 1 , 202. See ' Commentary ', 
of Abduh, on the I£ur'an 

Conservatives, 97, 98, 185 

Constantinople, 10, 12, 100, 222, 

Council, Legislative, work of ' Abduh 
in, 82, 83 

Courts, Egyptian, 68, 69 



Cromer, Lord, 14, 52, 53, 64, 66, 69, 
97, 99, 222, 223, 225, 229 

Crown Bedecked with the Jewels of the 
Kur'an and the Sciences, The 
('Al-taj al-murassa' bi-jawahir 
al-I£ur'an wa al-*uium'), 245 

al-Damardash, al-Sayyid *Abd al- 
Rahlm, Pasha, 209, 210 

'Dar al-daVah wa al-irshad', 197. 
See 'Propaganda and Guidance, 
School of' 

Dar al-'Ulum, 41, 45, 69, 214, 245 

Darwinism, attitude of 'Abduh 
party to, 138 eqq. 

Darwlsh Khadr, 23 sqq., 31, 32 

al-Dawanl, Al-Jalal, 41 

Delegation, Egyptian, 227, 228 

Deloncle, 221 

Descartes, 258 

Desmoulins, 213 

al-Diya, 94 

Doctrine of Crucifixion and Redemp- 
tion, The (''Akidat al-salb wa al- 
fida*), 242 

Dominicans, see Thomists 

Durkheim, 252 

Eastern Celebrities, 17. SeeMashaMr 

Edib, Halidi, Memoirs of, 239 
Education: views of f Abduh* and 

followers on, 48, 49, 62, 63, 195, 

196 ; views of Jamal on, 35 
Egyptian Gazette, The, 69, 78 
Egyptian University, 99, 209, 210, 

212, 217, 224, 225, 232, 249, 250, 

251, 253, 254, 255, 260 
lUgyptiens, Les: Reponse a M. le Due 

oVHarcourt, 232 
Encyclopedia, Twentieth Century, of 

Knowledge and Language, The, 

('Da'irat ma*arif al-karn al-'ish- 

rln'), 243, 245 

Faith, 168 

Fakih, fukahd, 79 

Falsafat al-ijtima wa al-tdrlkh, 41. 

See Lectures of Muhammad 

al-Farabi, 166 

Farid, Muhammad Bey, 184, 197 
'Fatwas', 79; of Muhammad 

e Abduh, 79, 80, 98, 100, 204 
'Fatwa, Transvaal', 207, 211 
Flammarion, Camille, 245 
Foreigners, connexion of, with 

Islamic countries, 59, 60, 61, 62, 


Free will, 87. See Predestination 

Gairdner, W. H. T„ 25 

al-Ghazzall: 38, 123, 155, 160, 259; 
influence on Muhammad 'Abduh, 
25, 170, 202, 203; influence on 
Jamal al-Din, 202; influence on 
Rashld Rida, 179, 202; influence 
on Tantawi Jawhari, 246 

Gibb, H. A. R., 213, 215, 250 

God: acts of, entirely free, 147, 148 ; 
attributes of, 117 sqq., 121, 146, 
147; argument for existence of, 
146; doctrine of, 144 sqq.; know- 
ledge of, extent and character, 
145 ; nature of, 119 sqq., 144 sqq. ; 
speech of, embodied in l£ur'an, 
148; brief statement of belief 
concerning, 147; transcendence 
of, 87, 88; unity of, 87, 88, 146 

Goldziher, 1, 10, 80, 103, 104, 111, 
132, 136, 137, 138, 139, 142, 152, 
163, 170, 178, 180, 182, 190, 197, 
202, 205, 246 

' Gospel of Barnabas ', 242 

Government, representative, em- 
phasis on, 51, 52, 55, 175 

Guizot, 16, 39, 44 

Hddir al-Aldm al-Islami, 214 

Hafiz Ibrahim, Muhammad, 86, 93, 
215 sqq. 

Haikal, Muhammad Husain, 224, 
225, 234, 249, 250 

Hamdl, Ahmad, 101 

Hanotaux,' G., 86, 88, 110, 226 

al-Hariri, 29 

Hartington, Lord, 58 

Hartmann, M„ 245, 246 

Hasan al-Tawil, 30, 31, 33, 208 

Hasan Mansur, 214 

Hasan Pasha \Asim, 19, 93, 212 

Hassunah al-NawawI, 72, 78, 79, 208 

Hifni Nasif, 47, 93, 212, 225, 235 

al-Hilal, 19, 211, 243 

al-Hilbawi, Ibrahim, 72, 210, 211 

History of Civilization in Europe and 
France, 44 

History of the ' 'Arabi Rebellion, 219 

Hitti, Philip K., 247 

Hizb al-Ummah, 209, 222. See 
People's Party, the 

al-Hizb al-Watani, 219. See Nation- 
alist Party 

Horten, M., 19, 22, 40, 45, 66, 69, 
72, 77, 80, 94, 99, 100, 104, 105, 
106, 115, 120, 128, 131, 136, 144, 
145, 147, 148, 149, 153, 164, 166 

Hugo, Victor, 218 

278 Index 

Hurgronje, Snouck, 178 
al-Husain, 4, 190 
Husain al-Jisr, 177, 178, 179 
Hyderabad, 8, 100 

Ibn al-Kayyim al- Jawziyyah, 202-4 

Ibn Khaldun: 41, 45, 71, 94, 167, 
168, 259; 'Abduh's lectures on, 

Ibn Maskawaih, 44 

Ibn Rushd, 89, 90 

Ibn Sa ud, 185, 203 

Ibn Sidah, 85 

Ibn Sina, 34, 105 

Ibn Taimiyyah, 202-4 

al-Ihyd, 179 

al-ljl, see 'Adud al-Din al-Iji 

Ijma\ 163. See 'Agreement', of the 
Muslim Community 

Jjtihad; exercise of, abandoned, 
59 ; right of, claimed, 70, 132, 192, 
193, 203; solution for all ills, 

J dm al-muwakkiln, 204 

al-Imkdn al-khass ('special possi- 
bility'), 148 

Immortality, of soul, 149 sqq. 

Innovations, 92, 189. See Bid' ah 

Inspiration, defined, 158, 159, 201 

Interpretation, of Kur'an, methods 
of, criticized, 200, 201 

'Irshad', 102 

'Isa Mahmud Nasir, 216 

Isfara'ini, 115 

al-Ishdrdt, 34 

al-Islam: characterization of, 13, 
14, 16, 59, 87, 88, 89, 90, 113, 185; 
Church State in, 88, 89, 183, 267; 
conception of, requires to be 
changed, 187, 188; departure from 
early simplicity, 190 ; final religion 
the, 175, 176; history of, text- 
book on, proposed, 91 ; relation 
to reason, 127 sqq. ; relation to 
science, 142, 143 ; unity of, scheme 
for, 183, 185 

Mam, the 'true', i.e. reformed, 1, 
96, 108 sqq., 115, 127, 173 sqq., 
191, 192, 194, 244 

Islam and Civilization ('Al-madan- 
iyyah wa al-Islam'), 243, 244 

Islamic Law, 50, 51, 70. See 

al-Islam, khawatir wa sawdnih, 213. 
See Castri, di, Count 

al-Islam wa al-Nasrdniyyah ma 1 ah 
*ilm wa al-madaniyyah ('Islam 
and Christianity and their Respec- 
tive Attitudes towards Learning 

and Civilization'), 90, 267 ; quoted 

128, 129, 134, 135, 143, 150, 167, 

168, 173, 175, 176 
al-Islam wa al-radd ^ala muntakidlk, 

('Islam and the Reply to its 

Critics'), 89, 110, 243 
al-Islam wa usul al hukm ( ' Islam and 

the Fundamentals of Authority'), 

3; replies to, 261; summary of 

ideas of, 262 sqq. 
Isma'il Pasha, Khedive, 7, 14, 30, 36, 

39, 45, 46, 47, 52, 211, 219 
Isma II Pasha Sabri, 214 

al-Jabariyyah ( * Compulsionists ' ), 87 

al-Jalalain, Commentary of, basis 
of c Abduh's lectures on Kur'an, 

Jamal al-Din al- Afghani, Al-Sayyid : 
1, 3, 58, 110, 111, 114, 121, 208, 
217, 219, 221 ; address to Turkish 
University, 6; bibliography on,269; 
birth, 4 ; chief aim, 1 3 ; character 
and influence, 17 ; connexion with 
'Abduh, 32 sqq. ; death, 12 ; educa- 
tion of, 4 ; expulsion from Egypt, 
46; in Afghanistan, 5; in Con- 
stantinople, 5, 10, 12; influence 
on pupils, 36 ; in India, 4, 5, 8 ; in 
London, 8, 10, 12; in Paris, 8; 
in Persia, 10, 11; in Russia, 10; 
methods, 13 ; methods of teaching, 
6, 34 ; opinion in Egypt concern- 
ing, 14, 15; opposition to, 7; political 
activities, 7 ; proposed journey to 
America, 8 ; summary of activities, 
12 sqq. ; summary of lectures, 35, 
36 ; visits to Egypt, 5, 6, 33 

al-Jdm%ah> 89 

' Jam'iyyat al-da'wah wa al-irshad', 
184, 196. See 'Propaganda and 
Guidance, Society of, The' 

' al- Jam* iyyah al-Islamiyyah ', 183. 
See 'Society, Islamic' 

al-Jaridah, 223, 224, 225, 249 

Jawhar, Fa-timid general, 27 

Jesuits, 87 

al-Jilani, f Abd al-Kadir, 189 

'Jinn', theories concerning, 138, 245 

Journal des Debats, Le, 9 

Journal de Paris, 86 

Journal Official, 49, 51, 53, 84, 110, 
207, 210, 227. See al- WakdH'al- 

Judaism, compared with Islam, 16, 

al-Jurjani, c Abd al-Kahir, 85, 215 

Juz* l Amma (Kur'an lxxviii-cxiv), 
Commentary on, 199 



Ka^ah, the, 190 

Ka'b al-Ahbar, 201 

al-Kadd wa al-kadar, 12 

al-Kadariyyah ('Free-willers'), 87 

'Kadis', School for, 45, 82 

'Kadis', Courts of, 69. See 'al- 
Mahakim al-Shar'iyyah ' 

al-Kafrawi, 21 

Kamal, Mustafa Pasha, 185, 193 

Kamil, Mustafa, see Mustafa 

Karamat, of the saints, 161, 162, 163 

Kasawi al-tashrlf, 73 

Kasb ('acquisition'), 153 

al-Kashkul, 210 

Kasim Amin: 93, 94, 97, 98, 100, 211, 
215, 225, 231 sqq., 237, 238, 243, 
249; ideas of, summarized, 232 

Kawkab al-Shark, 214 

Khedive, 7, 78, 79, 82. See Isma II ; 
Tawfik; c Abbas II 

Khedivial School of Languages, 45 

al-Khilafah aw al-imamah al-uzmd 

('The Caliphate, or The Greater 

Imamate'), 193, 266 

Kraemer, H., 102 

Kur'an, the: anticipated modern 

astronomy, 241 ; centre of studies 
in al-Azhar, 28; characterization 
of, 111, 113, 114, 119, 128, 134 
136, 141, 143, 148, 161, 173, 174 ; 
193, 201, 232; excessive venera 
tion for, 189; lectures on, 77 . 
rallying-point for Muslim unity 
60; supreme wisdom of, 244 
teaches 'acquisition', 87 

Kur'an, the, verses of, commented 
on, ii. 18-19, 137; ii. 27, 123, 134 
ii. 42, 170; ii. 45, 164; ii. 106, 163 
ii. 136-8, 201; ii. 139, 170; ii. 148 
172; ii. 159, 135, 136, 246; ii. 166 
131, 132; h. 171; ii. 172, 168 
ii. 173, 171; ii. 184, 171; ii. 192 
170; ii. 193, 152; ii. 199, 170 
ii. 209, 156-8; ii. 210, 116; ii 
216-18, 172, 173, 202; ii. 240, 169 
ii. 243, 130; ii. 249-53, 141-2 
ii. 276, 137; iii. 17, 141; iii. 100, 
172; iii. 200, 136; iv. 1, 138 sqq. 
iv. 3, 14, 230; iv. 14, 167; iv. 62 
174; viii. 60-2, 136; xiii. 12, 16 
141; xviii. 200; xxi. 22, 146 
xxxiii. 62, 140; xxxv. 43, 140; lix 
15, 241; lxxxii. 1, 241; lxxxix. 6 
200; xcv. 4, 150; ciii. 3, 120, 153 

al-Lakani, Ibrahim, 47, 210 
Layaii Sajih, 216, 217 

Law, Canon: interpreted by Mufti, 
79; necessity for reform of, 109, 
190 ; reform of, how accomplished, 
191 sqq. ; revised manual of, 194 ; 
right of independent investigation 
in treatment of, claimed, 132 sqq. ; 
rites of, 192, 193, 194; should be 
adaptable, 193 

Law, Divine: characterization of, 
59, 155, 171, 183, 186, 233; 
superior to constitutional enact- 
ment, 194, 195. See Short* ah 

Law, natural, 140. See Sunnah 

Lectures, of 'Abduh: on Ibn 
Khaldun, 45; on Kur'an, 199; 
on theology, 76, 77 

Library, Royal Egyptian, 216 

Literary Group, of 'Abduh's fol- 
lowers, 210 sqq. 

Littmann, Enno, 254 

al-Liwd, 184, 220, 225 

Lubbock, John, 246 

Lutfl, al-Sayyid Ahmad, 99, 223-5, 

'al-Ma'arif', society, 211 
al-Ma'arri, Abu al-'Ala, 254, 259 
Macbeth, versification of, in Arabic, 

Macdonald, Development of Muslim 

Theology, 79, 140, 203 
al-Madani, al-Sayyid Muhammad, 

al-Madaniyyah wa al-Islam, 89. See 

Islam and Civilization 
al-Mahdkim al-Ahliyyah, see Tribu- 
nals, Native 
al-Mahdkim al-Sha/iyyah, 45, 69. 

See 'Mahkamahs' 
Mahallat Nasr, 18, 46 
Mahdi, uprising in Sudan, 10, 13, 

'Mahkamahs', 69, 71, 81 
'Mahmal', the, Procession of, 190 
Mahmud Saml Pasha, 52, 54 
Mahmud Pasha Sulaiman, 223 
Ma Hundlik, 211 
Malak Blifnl Nasif, 235 sqq. See 

'Bahithat al-Badiyah' 
Makdmdt, 65. See Badi ( al- 

Zaman al-Hamadhani 
Makdmdt, 29. See al-Harirl 
Malik, al-Imam, 85 
Malaysia, reform in, 102 sqq. 
Man: equality of, in relation to God, 

151, 152; laws governing social 

order of, 141, 142, 157 ; needs and 

capacities of, 150, 151 ; origin of, 

138, 139, 149 



al-Manat : 10, 19, 34, 41, 52, 54, 64, 
66, 77, 84, 90, 99, 135, 138, 186, 
189, 193, 195, 198, 204, 205, 213, 
219, 230, 231, 240, 241, 242, 248, 
249, 253, 259, 265, 266, 267, 268 ; 
first issue, 180; general policy, 
182 ; general purpose, 181 ; mouth- 
piece of 'Abduh's doctrines, 177 

* Manar Commentary', see Com- 
mentary, M andr, The 

al'Manar, Party of, 205 sqq. See 
Party, l Manar', The 

al-Mandzir (San Paolo), 101 

al-Manfahitl, al-Sayyid Mustafa 
Lutfi, 215 

Mansur Fahmi, 250, 251 

al-Maraghi, Muhammad Mustafa, 

al-Mar'ah al-Muslimah, 243 

Marriage, views of 'Abduh and fol- 
lowers on, 50, 233, 234 

Mashahlr ahShark, 6, 26, 33, 52, 56, 
63, 68, 80, 184, 231. See Eastern 

Mawlai *Abd al-'Aziz, 100 

Mawlai Idris b. Mawlai ( Abd al- 
Hadi, 86, 100 

MawlMs, 188, 189 

'Mayy' (Mari Ziyadah), 232, 237, 

al-Mazini, Ibrahim *Abd al-Kadir, 

Medicine, modern, anticipated by 
the Kur'an, 137, 138 

Memorial Gathering, 208, 209, 251, 

Mezahibln teljlql we islamyn oir 
naqtaja dschemi\ 101 

Michel, B., 8, 30, 33, 41, 73, 104, 
115, 148, 252 

Microbes, identified, with ' Jinn ',138 

al-Minshawi, Ahmad Pasha, 91 

Miracles, ideas of 'Abduh on, 115, 
159, 160 

Mir' at al-Oharb (New York), 101 

Mirza IJasan-i-Shirazi, Hajjl, 12 

Misdrables, Les, translated into 
Arabic, 86, 218 

Moderate Party, the, 185, 205. See 
Party, 'Manar', the 

Modernism : in Egypt, 1 ; in Malaysia 
102 sqq. ; Turkish, 101, 243 

Modernists, 97 sqq., 102, 103, 185, 
253, 268 

Morals: basis of, 165, 166; duty of 
promoting, within the Com- 
munity, 172, 173; essentials 
summarized, 168; revelation re- 
quired for, 166, 167 

Morrison, S. A., 79, 254 

al-Mu'ayyad, 86, 87, 89, 225, 226 

Mu'ayyad, The New, 225 

Mubarak, *A1I Pasha, 45 

al-Mubarrad, Muhammad ibn Yazkl 
al-Azdi, 77 

al-Mudawivanah, 85. See al-Mu* 

Mufti of Egypt: 208, 261; office 
held by 'Abduh, 79 sqq,; other 
holders of office, 79; proposal to 
abolish office, 195 

Muhammad; 4, 264; dignity ac- 
corded to, by 'Abduh, 115, 160; 
mission of, 134 

'Muhammad, Life of, lectures on, 
by ( Abduh, 64 

Muhammad 'Abduh, see 'Abduh, 

Muhammad 'All Pasha, Khedive of 
Egypt, 19, 20, 29 

Muhammad A'zam, 5 

'Muhammadiya'i 102 

Muhammad Khalil, 207 

Muhammad Khan, 5 

Muhammad Rasim, 91, 214 

Muhammad Pasha Sakh, 214 

Muhiddin, Ahmed, 101,' 243 

Muir, Sir William, 92 

al-Mu'izz li Din Allah, see Abu 
Tamim Ma'add 

'Mujtahid', 70, 79 

al-Mukattam, 94, 96 

al-Mukhassas, 85 

al-Muktatif, 94, 96 

Muslims, backward state of de- 
scribed, 13, 59, 60, 88, 89, 108, 
109, 124, 141, 188, 190 

'Muslim Benevolent Society', 84, 
211, 212 

Mustafa Pasha Fahmi, 64, 228 

Mustafa Kamil, 184, 220, 212, 222, 
225 228 

Mutazilites, 42, 138, 148, 152, 166 

al-Muwailihi, Ibrahim, 211 

al-Muwattd, 85 

al-Nadim, 'Abd Allah, 53, 221, 222 

Nahj al-Balaghah, 65 

Nallino, 254, 260 

Nasir al-Dln, Shah of Persia, 10 

Nationalism, Egyptian, 220, 223 

Nationalist Movement, 52 

Nationalist Party, of Egypt, 184, 

197, 219, 220, 221, 222. See 

Nationalists, 56, 186, 228, 229 
Nationalists, Turkish, 101, 186 
al-Nasafi, 116 



al-Nazarat, 215 

New Testament, a View Concerning 
the Books of, and the Doctrines of 
Christianity {'Nazarah fl kutub 
al-'Ahd al-Jadld wa r aka'id al- 
Nasraniyyah ' ), 242 

al-Nisd'iyyat, 225, 236, 237, 238 

c Othman Pasha Rifkl, 51 
Order and the World, ('Al-nizam wa 
al-'alam'), 246 

Palermo, visit of 'Abduh to, 66, 196 
Pan-Islam, 9, 61, 89, 103, 184, 220, 

' Parliament of Religions ', in Japan, 

196, 246 
Party, Conservative, 97, 98. See 

Party, Liberal, 97 sqq. See Modern- 
Party, 'Manar', the, 205 sqq. 
Pavlova, 251 

People's Party, 209, 222, 223, 252 
Philosophy, attitude of 'Abduh 

towards, 122 sqq. 
'Philosophy of Ibn Khaldun, The: 

Introduction and Criticism ' 

{Falsafat Ibn Khaldun: tahlil wa 

nakd), 254 
Persian Revolution, the, influence of 

Jamil in, 12 
Pilgrimage, to Mecca, sincerity in, 

required, 170 
Plato, 123 

Pleasures of Life, The, 246 
Poetry, pre-Islamie, 255 
Polemics, modern, against Chris- 
tianity, 241 sqq. 
Political development, as effected 

by the 'Manar' Party, 219 sqq. 
Political life, views of 'Abduh, 50, 

63, 219, 220 
Polygamy: views of f Abduh and 

followers on, 50, 175, 230 
Prayer, importance and value of, 

169, 170 
Predestination, 12, 87, 120, 152 sqq. 
Principles of Legislation, Bentham, 

Professional Group, of 'Abduh's 

followers, 210 sqq. 
Prolegomena of Ibn Khaldun, we 

Ibn Khaldun 
Propaganda and Guidance, School 

of, 91, 196, 197 
' Propaganda and Guidance, Society 

of, 184, 196, 214 

Prophecy: argument for necessity 
of, 155 sqq. ; attempt at modern- 
ized statement concerning, 115; 
nature of, defined, 158; subject 
to test of reason, 129 

Prophet, the: 123, 151; possibility 
of a succession to, 263, 264. See 

Prophets: intercession of, 163, 164; 
mission of, 113, 158; needed as 
guides in morals, 166; possibility 
of error on part of, 159 ; supported 
by miracles, 159, 160 

Priissner, A. H., 102 

Punishment, capital, necessity for, 

Rafik Bey al-'Izam, 214 

Rashid Rida, Muhammad: 49, 54, 
101, 111,* 113, 121, 125, 141, 147, 
164, 183, 185, 193, 194, 195, 208, 
210, 211, 213, 219, 221, 226, 229, 
240, 242, 243, 259; affair in 
Hasanain Mosque, 189, 190; 
arrival in Egypt, 179; attitude 
towards critical study of Kur'an, 
186, 187; connexion with 'Com- 
mentary' of 'Abduh, 198 sqq. ; 
connexion with Risdlat al-tawhid, 
77 ; conservatism, 248 ; education, 
177, 178, 180; founds society and 
school for propaganda, 91, 196, 
197; influence on, of IJusain al- 
Jisr, 178; influence on, of Jamal 
al-Din, 179; influence on, of al- 
K Urwah al-Wuthkah, 178, 179; 
quoted, 4, 7, 8, 9, 13, 51, 54, 57, 
63, 67, 70, 77, 84, 252, 266 

al-Razi, Fakhr, 200 

Reason : attitude of f Abduh towards, 
127 sqq. ; can discover certain 
attributes of the Creator, 146; 
has right to test and interpret 
prophecy, 129, 130 

Rector of al-Azhar, 71, 208. See 
Shaikh al-Azhar 

Reform: fundamental character of, 
89, 109, 110, 187, 188; impulse 
to, 2 ; in al-Azhar, 70 sqq., 78, 99 ; 
measures required, 60 ; of customs 
and practices, 50 ; of mosques, 82 ; 
of religious education, 95; of 
society, 230 sqq. ; problem of, 
108 sqq. ; proposals concerning, 
62, 65, 66 ; results expected from , 

Refutation of the Materialists ('Al- 
radd c ala al-dahriyyln'), 15 sqq., 



Religion: as innate faculty, 16? ; 
essential inwardness of, 168, 169; 
place and influence of, in national 
and individual life, 167, 168; 
relation of, to reason, 127, 128; 
relation of, to science, 134, 135 

'Religion from the View Point of 
Sound Reason' ('Al-din fi nazar 
aVakl al-sahih'), 240 

Kenan, Ernest, controversy with 
Jamal, 9 

Revelation: embodied in J£ur'an, 
201; necessity for, 146, 166; 
occasions of, in l Manar Com- 
mentary', 201 

Riad Pasha, 6, 44, 46 

al-Risalah al-Hamldiyyah, 177, 178 

Risalat al-tawhid, 65, 77, 84, 89, 94, 
101, 104, 111, 112, 113, 121, 122, 
129, 133, 142, 145, 148, 155, 157, 
164, 168, 243, 252, 268. See 
Lectures of 'Abduh, on Theology 

Risalat al-wdridat, 32 

Risdlah ft wahdat al wujud, 41 

Safdar, al-Sayyid, 4 

Saints: abuses in connexion with 
cult of, 163, 188, 189; rank of, as 
compared with prophets, 161, 

Salih, Muhammad Bey, 47 

Salim al-Bishrl, 72, 78 

Salim, Hajj, 102 

Salim, Mahmud, 197, 214, 246 

Santillana, 254, 260 

al-Sanusi, Catechism of, 113, 116, 

'Sarekat Islam', 102 

Sarkis, Yusuf Ilyan, 215, 216 

Sayyid Wafa, 47, 207 

Schools, mosque, affiliated with al- 
Azhar, 21, 74, 76 

Schools, foreign, in Muslim countries, 
attitude of ( Abduh towards, 48, 
50, 60, 62, 65 

Science: encouraged by Islam, 142, 
143; illustrations from, in inter- 
pretation of Ijair'an, 137, 138; 
progress in, a duty, 135, 136; 
relation of, to religion, 134 sqq. 

Semitic civilization, contrasted with 
Aryan, 86, 87, 88 

Secret of the Advancement of the Anglo- 
Saxons, The, 213 

Sha'arawi, Madame Huda, 231, 236, 

al-Shadhall, Abu Hasan 'All, 23 

Shah, of Persia, 10, 11, 14. See 
Nasir al-Din 

Shaikh al-Azhar, 30, 72, 73, 78, 261. 

See Rector of Al-Azhar 
Shaikh al-Islam, 6, 62, 65 
Shakib Arslan, 214 
al-Shanklti, Muhammad Mahmud, 

85, 148 
al-Sharbini, 'Abd al-Rahman, 72 
'Sharh al-Kafrawi f ala al-Ajur- 

rumiyyah', 21 
Shariah, characterization of, 21, 

50, 51, 59, 79, 81, 183. See Islamic 

Law; Law, Canon; Law, Divine 
al-Shark, 26 
Shawlsh, 'Abd al- r Aziz, 184, 197, 

210, 243 
Shir 'All, 5 
al-ShiW al-jahill ('Pre-Islamic 

Poetry, The'), 255 
Sidkl, Muhammad Tawfik, 240 sqq., 

al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, 64 
al-Siyasah, 184, 209, 216, 218, 224, 

231, 234, 249, 254, 258 
Smith, Sidney, 92 
'Society, Islamic', 183, 229 
Socrates, 217 
Soul, the, man's knowledge of, 

limited, 118 sqq., 149 
Spencer, Herbert, 95, 167 
Sufism, 25, 31, 32 

Sufi Orders, 23, 88, 188, 189, 209, 216 
aUSufur, 249 
Sultan of Morocco, 100. See Mawlai 

f Abd al-'Aziz 
Sultan Muhammad, 47 
Sunnah: 'genuine', emphasis on, 

174, 180, 201; of God, term 

applied to idea of natural law, 

140, 157; of the Prophet, as one 

of the bases of Islam, 140, 173, 174, 

180, 190, 191, 193 
'Surat al-'Asr', Commentary on, 

23, 114, 120, 133, 153, 154, 185, 

' Surat al-Fatihah ', Commentary 

on, 115, 199 ' 

Tafslr al-Manar, 142, 169, 172, 201, 
230, 231. See 'Commentary', of 
( Abduh, on I£ur'an 

Tafslr surat aVasr, wa khitdb *amm 
fl al-tarbiyah wa al-tallm, see 
'Surat al-'Asr', Commentary on' 

al-Taftazani, 42 

Tah&Husain, 249, 250, 253 sqq., 268 

'Tahdhlb al-akhlak', 44 

Tahrlr al-mar'ah, 231. See Wo- 
man, Emancipation of 

Taimur, Ahmad, 214, 215 



Tajal-'Arus, 211 

Takla, Salim Bey, 37 

TaklM, 16, 25, 113, 130, 131, 132, 

192, 217, 246 
Talbah Pasha, 55 
Tantawi Jawhari, 200, 245 
al-Tantawi, Shaikh, 29, 30 
Tarlkh al-ustadh al-imam, 11, 19, 20, 

46, 58, 78. See Biography of 

Muhammad *Abduh 
ilk Pasha, Khed: 

63, 66, 68, 71, 219 
Thamardt al-Funun, 65 
Theology: conflict of, with modern 

science, 38, 39 ; lectures of c Abduh 

on, 76, 77; of c Abduh, character 

of, 111 sqq. 
Thomists, 87 

Thoughts ('Khatarat nafs'), 251 
al-Tirmidhl, al-Sayyid 'AH, 4 
Tolerance : in Islam and Christianity, 

compared, 89, 90; in religious 

belief, urged, 133 
Tolstoi, 95 

Tribunals, Mixed, 69 
Tribunals, Native, 68, 69, 70 
Trinity, the, belief in, 87 

'Ulaish, Shaikh, 30, 42 

Umm al-Kurah, 9. See Pan-Islam 

'Union Fe^ministe Fjgyptienne, La', 
231, 239 

Unity of Islam: concern for, 63, 
116; reasons for loss of, 59 

oZ- ( Urwah al-Wuthkah (the journal) : 
61, 111, 152, 172, 198, 211, 222; 
object and influence, 9, 10; sum- 
mary of ideas, 58 sqq. 

'al-'Urwah al-Wuthkah' (secret 
organization): 9, 58, 100 

aLUstddh, 222 

Vollers, 27, 30, 45, 72, 73, 74 

Wajdi, Muhammad Farld, 89, 243 
sqq., 248 

al-Wajdiyydt, 243 

Wahhabis, 103, 185, 203 

Wahb ibn Munabbah, 201 

al-Wakd'ial-Misriyyah: 46, 47; 
summary of 'Abduh's contribu- 
tions to, 49 sqq. See Journal 

Wakfs, 48, 73, 77, 78, 82, 194, 209, 

Wall of Bairiit, 62, 66 

ahWdriddt, 33, 40, 41, 110, 120, 144. 
See Risalat al- Warid&t 

Will, free, 113, 116, 153-5. See 

Wilson, S. G. (Modern Movements 
among Moslems), 8, 10, 12, 13, 14 

'Wednesday Talks' (Hadith al-arba 
a), 254 

Woman, Condition of, in the Tradi- 
tion and Evolution of Islam, 250 

Woman, Emancipation of ('Tahrir 
al-mar'ah'), 215, 231, 232 sqq. 

Woman, equality of, with man, 151, 

Woman, The New ('al-Mar'ah al- 
jadidah'), 231, 243 

Women's Moyement, in Egypt, 239 

al-Yaziji, Ibrahim, 19, 94, 100 
'Young Egyptian Movement', 8 
Young Turk Revolution, 185 

Zaidan, J., 6, 17, 19, 26, 36, 103, 222 
Zaghlul, Ahmad Fathi Pasha, 213 
Zaghlul, Sa*ad Pasha, 46, 207, 210, 

225, 226 sqq., 250 
Zaini Dahlan, Ahmad ibn, 64 
Zakdt, see Alms, legal 
al-Zankaluni, *AH Surtir, 210 
Zikrs, 188, 189 
Ziya al'Khafiqayn, 12